2016: The year of big transition for Serbian banks

Last year was very volatile for the Serbian banking sector, and not because of borrowing stagnating, but because some banks left the Serbian market, some were sold, and some changed ownership structure.

Slovenian KBM Bank sold Credy Bank from Kragujevac to two Serbian businessmen, Andrej Jovanovic and Bojan Milovanovic, who changed the bank’s name into Direkt Bank, which, in turn, then acquired Findomestic Bank, a bank that had operated under BNP Paribas. Initially, in 2015, OTP Bank was on the brink of buying Findomestic Bank, but that deal fell through.

For the first time ever, there is a Turkish bank in Serbia – Halk Bank – which acquired Čačanska Bank, previously owned by the Serbian government and the EBRD. Two relatively big banks also changed owners – Miodrag Kostic is now 100% proprietor of AIK Bank and has also bought a share in Gorenjska Bank, based in Slovenia. The US investment fund, Advent, and the EBRD acquired the former Hypo Bank, and renamed it Addiko Bank.

Bank of China officially started its operations in Serbia a few weeks ago, while Mirabank from the United Arab Emirates acquired a greenfield licence to operate in Serbia last year. Also, there have been rumours that AIK Bank, Societe Generale, and Komercijalna Bank have reached an agreement on taking over Alpha Bank from Greece.

The former governor of the National Bank of Serbia, Aleksandar Jelasic, who now works for the Hellenic Stability Fund has announced the sale of all Greek banks operating in Serbia – Vojvodjanska Bank (The National Bank of Greece), Piraeus Bank, Eurobank, and Alpha Bank.

This is not really surprising because it is all part of the plan devised by the European Commission with the intent to restructure the four biggest Greek banks in order to raise capital and reduce their presence abroad.

(eKapija, 30.01.2017)


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