CEE's best bank 2017: Erste Group
Awards for Excellence 2017
This year’s best bank award recognizes Erste Group’s achievements in completing the protracted restructuring of its network and positioning itself to take advantage of growth opportunities in the region, while at the same time meeting the challenges of technology.
The Austrian group’s problems in the wake of the financial crisis have been well-aired. BCR, the Romanian market leader bought by Erste in 2005, suffered substantial losses as large portfolios of corporate debt turned sour. Bank taxes and the forced conversion of foreign-currency loan portfolios took a heavy toll in Hungary, while a modest venture into Ukraine rapidly became a liability.
Addressing these issues was no easy task, particularly against a backdrop of falling interest rates and weak credit demand. Erste’s response, however, was disciplined, proactive and effective. Under the leadership of long-standing CEO Andreas Treichl, the group refocused on its traditional retail banking model.