Best Bank: Hansabank
Baltic powerhouse Hansabank is far and away the leading bank in Estonia – it is number one in retail and corporate deposits, retail and corporate loans and pensions savings – and is continuing to grow rapidly, with a 28.25% increase in assets in the year to the end of March 2007. The bank’s corporate credit business, loans and leasing, is proving especially strong, with its loan portfolio growing 50% in 2006. Similarly, the strong economy has increased individual income and prompted a real estate boom in Estonia that has substantially boosted Hansabank’s portfolio of housing loans, which grew by 62% in 2006. Given Hansabank’s dominance of this rapidly growing market – it increased its market share in housing loans by 0.1% to 49.7% in 2006 – it is hard to see how any other bank can challenge it. Hansabank is also by far the largest player in the local equity capital markets and was lead manager for the ground-breaking IPO of casino company Olympic Entertainment in October 2006, which was the first time that an IPO occurred in all three Baltic countries simultaneously.