Country Awards for Excellence 2020: Central & Eastern Europe
Albania’s leading banks once again turned in a respectable set of results last year but were unable to compete on either growth or profitability with a newcomer to the market. OTP Albania, the winner of the award for Albania’s best bank, has been part of the Hungarian OTP group since March 2019.
Formerly a subsidiary of Societe Generale, the lender was number five by total assets and number four by loans at the time of the takeover.
In its first year under new ownership, however, it has clearly signalled its intent to become a big player in the market, taking advantage of high levels of liquidity to pursue aggressive lending expansion. In 2019 the bank increased its share of the loan market by 52 basis points to 10%, which in turn helped to boost return on equity to a market-beating 19% and reduce non-performing loans to 5.7% of the total.
Following the completion of an eight-month project to align with its new parent group, OTP Albania’s management – led by long-standing chief executive Bledar Shella – has also embarked on a comprehensive overhaul of the bank’s digital platforms as well as an upgrade of its core banking system.