The Best Banks in Central and Eastern Europe for 2009

The following are the ” Best Banks in Central and Eastern Europe for 2009″ according to rankings published by Global Finance magazine:

Albania – International Commercial Bank
Belarus – Belarusbank
Bosnia and Herzegovina – Raiffeisen Bank Bosnia Hercegovina
Bulgaria – Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria
Croatia – Privredna Banka Zagreb
Cyprus – Bank of Cyprus
Czech Republic – Raiffeisenbank
Estonia – Swedbank
Hungary – OTP Bank
Latvia – Aizkraukles Banka
Lithuania – Swedbank
Macedonia – Komercijalna Banka
Malta – HSBC Bank Malta
Moldova – Moldova Agroindbank
Poland – Bank Pekao
Romania РBRD-Groupe Soci̩t̩ G̩n̩rale
Russia – VTB
Serbia – Raiffeisen Banka
Slovakia – Tatra Banka
Slovenia – Nova Ljubljanska Banka
Turkey – Akbank
Ukraine – UkrSibbank

The top ranking banks in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Czech Republic are subsidiaries of Raiffeisen which is one of the largest financial groups in Austria. Austrian banks expanded heavily in Central and Eastern Europe after the fall of communism. One of the reasons for this expansion is that Austrians have always viewed this area as their own back yard due to historical ties. However while this strategy initially was a huge success for Austrian banks, after the credit crunch started and emerging markets in Europe were affected severely Austrian banks were impacted equally.

In the Baltic countries of Lithuania and Estonia the subsidiaries of Sweden-based Swedbank (SWDBY) are the winners. Swedbank was founded in 1820 as Sweden’s first  savings bank.Today the group has 272 branches in the Baltic countries and 216 branches in Ukraine.As with Raiffeisen of Austria, Swedbank has been suffering due to its Baltic exposure as many of these economies are in recession. Latvia, for example is on the verge of collapse or a currency devaluation.The fortunes of Swedbank are tied to the stability and growth of the Baltic countries.

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