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Eyes on the prize

April 5, 2004

As Romania does all it can to create a smooth path towards EU membership, investors are discovering that the countries holds great promise. Matei Paun reports from Bucharest.

BCR: Romania’s banking giant

April 5, 2004

Banca Comerciala Romana is awakening to a world of opportunities and challenges With its know-how and a 300-strong branch and agency network, it is well-placed to distribute its products and services and make headway in the retail market.
Banca Comerciala Romana (BCR) is the Romanian banking sector’s sleeping giant. Not only is it the largest bank, with roughly a 30% market share and nearly four million customers (doubled from two million in early 2000), but in the period 2000-2003 it generated total profits of almost $750m. In 2003 it delivered a strong performance with net profits of over $160m, in line with 2002’s performance.

Foreign banks’ invasion pays

April 5, 2004

Privatisation in the Romanian banking sector has sent foreign assets soaring in the last six years. And the flurry of activity shows no signs of dissipating.
Since privatisation began with the 1998 sale of the Romanian Development Bank (BRD) to France’s Société Générale Groupe, the percentage of banking assets represented by foreign banks in Romania has skyrocketed to more than 50%. Besides the French, the Austrians are traditional players in the central and eastern Europe (CEE) banking sector, as are the Greeks, playing on their regional familiarity. The Dutch, Italians and even the Americans, through Citibank, also have considerable presence.

A cautious approach

April 5, 2004

Mugur Isarescu, governor of the National Bank of Romania, tells Matei Paun why he decided to issue a set of regulations that limit retail banking growth.

Non-banking boomtime

April 5, 2004

Just as the banking sector is benefiting from better economic times in Romania, mortgages insurance and pensions are all making great steps forward.

Shoots of growth

April 5, 2004

Positive economic indicators in Romania have heralded an influx in foreign direct investment. Thus opening new doors for the country’s financial sector.

There may be roubles ahead

April 5, 2004

Despite concerns over the wisdom of letting a state bank manage Russia’s pension fund, profits so far have been promising. Ben Aris reports from Moscow.

Holding fast to its independence

April 5, 2004

For a large, underpopulated country, Kazakhstan has achieved impressive economic growth in recent years. And, despite Western criticism of endemic corruption and poor distribution of wealth, the country looks set to continue on the same path. Chris Pala reports.

Keeping ahead of the neighbours

April 5, 2004

Prudent management of its oil reserves and a commitment to propriety is making Kazakhstan a regional success story. Chris Pala in Almaty explains.

Under new management

April 5, 2004

Simon Montlake reports from Kuala Lumpur on a revitalised economy now under the low-key yet decisive auspices of the newly elected Abdullah Badawi.

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