Source: Novosti | Sunday, 24.01.2016.| 13:24
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Mergers of Greek banks in Serbia?

(Photo: Andrey_Popov/shutterstock.com)
Comprised of 30 banks, Serbia's banking system is extremely cumbersome given the country's population and economic system, so economists say its further reduction is expected. Following the departure of Paribas Group, the sale of Findomestic to Hungary's OTP Bank and KBC Bank's withdrawal, this and next year will see some banks leave the market and others merge either on the level of the group or on the country level. First of all, two Greek banks are expected to merge by the end of 2017. Unofficially, another Greek bank will most likely withdraw from the country within the next two years unless circumstances change.

In Serbia, five state-owned banks hold a market share of 20%, four Greek banks have a 18.7% share, while the market share of somewhat over 17% is held by two Italian banks. For a market as small as Serbia, 14 banks is too much. As bankers underline, an unwritten rule is that one bank per million people is enough. This means that an optimal solution would be to have seven to nine banks operating in Serbia.

Arabs and Turks

Turkey's Halkbank has recently entered the market of Serbia by acquiring Cacanska Banka. Also, the UAE's Mirabank, which specializes in corporate services, has opened a branch office in our country. Neither of the two have so far had any media campaign that could at least give us a hint on what they offer to their clients and what moves they plan on making in order to obtain clients.

Figures

* 43 banks operated in Serbia 15 years ago
* 23,000 employees in the banking sector
* 20% of the market held by five state-owned banks
* 14 banks in our country operate successfully
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