BANK AUSTRIA INCREASES CUSTOMERS IN SOUTHEAST EUROPE BY 41 PER CENT
Bank Austria Creditanstalt, owner of the Bulgarian Biochim Commercial Bank, has increased the number of its customers in Southeast Europe by 190,000 in the first half of 2003. It already serves 780,000 companies, organisations, and individuals in the region. The information was announced at the economic forum organized by the Euromoney magazine in Dubrovnik. The forum was attended by Biochim's CEO Roumen Beremski, who took part in a working meeting on long-term financing and the role of the own funds. During the past four years, Bank Austria has demonstrated considerable expansion on the markets in Southeast Europe. The assets of its credit institutions have grown from EUR0.9BN in 1999 to EUR4.2BN in the end of 2002. Apart from Biochim, today Bank Austria owns Croatia's third largest bank, Splitska Banka, as well as Central Profit Banka in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Besides, it holds subsidiaries in Serbia and Montenegro, and its representative office opened in Macedonia last March.According to the Austrian bankers' forecasts, by 2006 their regional banks will have over one million customers. Bank Austria's plans for the next two years include the opening of 16 new branch offices in Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, and Slovenia. In each of these countries the bank will try to acquire whole credit institutions.Bank Austria experts underline that the banking sector in Southeast Europe is mostly attractive with its huge growth potential.