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BEST BANK: Slovenska Sporitelna
In Slovakia, Erste Bank’s Slovenska Sporitelna and Banca Intesa’s VUB continue to slug it out for the top spot in the banking sector. It’s a photo finish between the two. Slovenska Sporitelna’s net income last year was $120 million. VUB’s was $119 million. VUB’s cost-income ratio was 56%. Slovenska Sporitelna’s was 55.5%. VUB is rightly proud of its consumer finance division, called CFH, which helped increase the bank’s retail loans portfolio by 60%. But we’ve chosen to give it to Slovenska Sporitelna, because it made more money, has a slightly better return on equity, and a leadership position in asset management and leasing.

Bank Austria wins the best investment bank award mainly thanks to its $78 million IPO for SkyEurope, the central European budget airline pioneer, which did a dual listing on the Warsaw and Vienna stock exchanges. It was the first Slovakian company to list in Vienna.