Challenges and Prospects
Edited by Klaus Liebscher, Josef Christl, Peter Mooslechner and Doris Ritzberger-Grünwald
Chapter 24: Banking in South-East Europe: the case of the Raiffeisen Group
24. Banking in South-East Europe: the case of the Raiﬀeisen Group Heinz Wiedner This chapter describes, ﬁrst, where the Raiﬀeisen group operates in the region of South-East Europe, what businesses we run, and what overall approach we have pursued in opening up these markets. Then some general economic and ﬁnancial indicators for the region are provided. Finally the chapter focuses on banking concentration and market shares in the regional banking sectors. Throughout the region, the Raiﬀeisen Group has basically adhered to the principle of entering the markets at an early stage. We have typically set up greenﬁeld operations and, in some countries, have later moved on to acquisitions when wanting to expand our portfolio, or when the opportunity came up. Our most recent acquisition in South-East Europe was the Savings Bank of Albania, which we bought at the beginning of 2004. With regard to the question of either using local management and knowhow or bringing in foreign expertise, we do in principle rely on local management. We obviously provide external support, help, coaching and certain tools and instruments that we have available, but it is one of our governing principles to have local management there to run the bank as much as possible. This is because it is still more important to know the environment, to know your local customers than it is to only know Western practices. Obviously, that has to be complemented by group know-how and knowledge of best practice. Finally, we pursue a...
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