Leasing: An equal footing in CEE
The growth of the leasing market in central and eastern Europe has been particularly strong for a number of years.
“Part of the reason is that the base figure is relatively low compared with other markets in Europe,” says Alexander Schmidecker, CEO of Bank Austria Creditanstalt Leasing. “Today the total new business volume in the 11 CEE markets in which we operate is equivalent to the annual production in Italy.
“Strong demand from both corporates and customers has been the most important factor; another reason is that in these countries leasing started out on an equal footing with bank lending right from the start, which has not been the case in western Europe. In western Europe, although leasing has been available for 40 years, it has only in the last few years gained a status equal to lending in markets like Italy, Austria, Germany and Switzerland.”
For many consumers and smaller and medium-size companies in the region, leasing has in reality been the only choice. Lacking adequate collateral, they would have been turned away from many banks had they sought a loan.