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Credit Europe Bank sees signs of economic recovery

3975 afisari
Claudia Ariton
Having already managed its way through a “crisis experience” in the Turkish and Russian markets, Credit Europe Bank has accumulated 20 million Euro in loans this year, while its total loan portfolio stood at 1.5 billion Euro in 2008. According to Omer Tetik, the bank’s executive vice president, this year’s volume of loans has decreased compared to the previous year, being “an expected effect of the crisis management.”
Tetik, who previously held banking positions in Turkey and Russia, maintains his confidence in Credit Europe Bank’s crisis experience. “We knew which sectors of the economy would be affected by the financial crisis, so we acted accordingly – if we find that a client experiences trouble in paying the installments, we offer him a customized payment scheme. Our motto is ‘The bank benefits if the client survives.’ So, the bank won’t gain anything if the client has problems.”
As the executive vice president told Business Arena, the bank first looks at the problems of the troubled sector and then tries to help the client with a suitable payment scheme, “because whether it is textile, manufacturing or other industrial segment, each one of them has different patterns in terms of business volumes or demand and supply, so we cannot offer single solutions.”
Most of the bank’s clients are commercial companies, retailers, small corporate clients and SMEs. “In retail, we are focusing on our product, Card Avantaj, whose usage ratio increased quite rapidly,” said Tetik. The bank also recorded a level of non-performing loans of around four per cent, according to international standards, and estimates an asset size of around 1.5 million Euro at the end of this year. “The figure is determined by the sizeable decrease in our loan portfolio, due to the fact that we sold the mortgage portfolio to our mother company in Holland,” said Tetik.
Credit Europe Bank operates 98 branches in Romania at the moment, some of which are being relocated or merging with others. “We will open new branches sometime in the future, though we won’t expand as aggressively as we did between 2005 and 2008.”
The bank has reduced some of its personnel as well, due to the reduction of sales and demand for the banking products. “We have around 12 to 15 per cent less staff at the end of this year, as compared to the peak period in 2008,” said Tetik, a native of Izmir, Turkey. He also revealed that the bank’s main investment plans for this year are to finance its existing loans portfolio.
Credit Europe Bank offers a range of products, from credit cards and loans to deposits and insurances. “We also invest persistently in technology, as we think it represents the future and aligns Romania to other developed international markets,” explained the executive vice president.
While most Western financial markets had to deal with strong repercussions from the financial crisis, Romania had the advantage of a very solid banking system. “I think Romania deals more or less with a psychological crisis, an emotional crisis, rather than a financial one. As compared to other markets, here we have a strong banking system that didn’t need to be injected with any money from the government. Unfortunately, regardless of the banking system, the commercial sectors or the power of the multinationals, everybody here has acknowledged the economic crisis really late. While other markets were taking precautionary measures, in Romania no one believed in the upcoming events. Therefore, measures to address the crisis were taken quite late, and now we are confronting a more or less psychological blockage – nobody wants to purchase, nobody wants to sell,” said Tetik.
He also thinks there are already signs of an economic recovery, especially in the manufacturing segment: “this might bring Romania to a healthier stage, because in recent years, the economy has depended heavily on the construction sector and its financing, so now, different economic sectors will start to recover.”
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