Catching-up Strategies in CESEE Economies
Edited by Ewald Nowotny, Peter Mooslechner and Doris Ritzberger-Grünwald
Chapter 27: The CESEE Experience of KBC Group
Marko Voljč The purpose of this chapter is to give the case of a practising banker active in the CESEE region, with a view to providing an assessment about how we see the conditions for financing the future development in the region. These considerations are meant to add a practical touch to the chapters on policy-making and theoretical modelling. Specifically, I would like to address four questions from the point of view of the group that I represent: KBC, which is a Belgian group. You may ask how we came to the region given that, unlike in the case of the Austrian banks or French or Italian banks, our engagement does not seem like a natural proposition. Thus, the first question will be: how come we decided to go into a market which was terra incognita for us when the wall came down? Second, how did we weather the financial and economic crisis that hit the world in 2008? Third, what have we learned from this past period – both the pre-crisis period and particularly the crisis period itself? And the last question is: do we still believe in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe? Will we stay? I will try to provide brief answers to each of these questions, maybe focusing more on the present and the future than on the past. As a group, we were faced with the situation in the early 1990s that we were too big for Belgium and too small for Western Europe. Emerging Europe became...
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