National Bank of Greece rides the growth wave
NBG, Greece’s largest bank, is doing well out of a domestic growth surge but has recognized the need to find the fastest-growing, most profitable parts of the market. The same strategy is being applied to its ambitious expansion programme abroad. Laurence Neville reports.
THE GREEK ECONOMY is booming and so are the country’s six biggest banks, which enjoyed 19.5% growth in operating revenue for 2006. But although strong growth is expected in 2007 and 2008, and the outlook for the sector looks positive, Greek banks are realizing that to sustain expansion they increasingly need to focus on those market segments with the greatest potential.
The largest and oldest of these banks, National Bank of Greece (NBG), is part of the fabric of Greek life: despite increased competition, it has maintained a 30% market share in deposits and more than 20% in loans. Nevertheless, it is also increasingly targeting specific sectors for growth – both retail and corporate, at home and abroad – in a bid to increase margins and improve the profile of the bank.
"We want to be in high-growth markets and while Greece is growing by 4%, the other markets we are involved in are growing by 6% or 7%"
"All areas of our business are growing," says Takis Arapoglou, chief executive.