The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2021 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Greek banks face up to doorstep challenge

The leaders are busy expanding in the Balkans and beyond in emerging Europe. But will buying more and more on their doorstep prove better than an organic growth strategy in the long term? Chloe Hayward reports from Athens.

GREEK BANKS ARE eagerly expanding into foreign markets. "Everybody who’s anybody is in the Balkan region," says Paula Hadjisotiriou, CFO of EFG Eurobank, the second-largest bank in Greece. For many Greek banks, the domestic market has not been the exciting story for some time.

More than a decade ago, as the small Greek market started to show signs of slowing growth, leading banks made their cross-border moves into countries such as Albania, Bulgaria, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Romania. The Greeks were able to exploit their ancient cultural links and trading ties with the region to quickly establish a presence.

Alpha Bank now holds an 11% market share in Albania, and a 6% share in Romania and Serbia. Eurobank commands an 11% market share in Romania and all of the top three banks hold shares of 3% to 4% in most other Balkan countries. "The top Greek banks say they are aiming for 20% to 30% of their total pre-tax income to come from their foreign operations," says Matteo Stefanel, head of origination at Marfin Investment Group and CEO of Investment Bank of Greece. "And realistically they are well on their way to achieving this."

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree