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CEE's best bank transformation 2017: Banca Comerciala Romana

Awards for Excellence 2017

When Erste bought Banca Comerciala Romana (BCR) in 2005, the bank came with a lot of baggage. As the main financier of Romania’s corporate sector through much of the post-Communist period, it was deeply embedded in the power structures of a country notorious for bad governance and lack of transparency. 

What this meant for BCR and its new owner became clear when the financial crisis hit in 2008. As Romania’s economy plunged into recession and a real estate bubble burst, huge portfolios of corporate debt began to turn sour. Initial attempts to tackle the issue achieved little beyond highlighting the weaknesses of BCR’s risk management systems. 

The overdue turnaround finally got underway the following year when a new management team was brought in, led by restructuring expert Tomas Spurny, with a mandate was to clean up BCR and transform it into a modern, commercially viable bank. 

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