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Allianz opens first bank branch in Hungary

Insurer Allianz Hungária Zrt on Thursday opened the first branch of its new bank, Allianz Bank Zrt.

The bank, which began operations on October 17, will offer basic banking services at the start, but will introduce mortgage and personal loans as well as products specifically tailored for SMEs at a later date.
Speaking on Thursday, Allianz Bank CEO Ádám Farkas said the bank could close its first year of operation with as many as 100,000 clients. He added it could become profitable by the end of the decade, though declining to offer a more specific target date.
The bank will offer its services at five Allianz Hungária offices by the end of this year, and at 25 in 2007. Farkas noted that it is cheaper to convert an insurance office into a bank branch than to set up an independent bank branch. Allianz Bank aims to build on its parent company's base of 2 million clients, as well as its almost 2,000 sales representatives, Farkas said earlier.
Allianz Hungária aims to become one of the five or six universal banks on the Hungarian market in 5-10 years, he said. Deputy-CEO Gábor Hegyi said the bank would offer discounts to Allianz policyholders, adding that 1,700 of Allianz's sales agents had been trained to sell the bank's products.
Allianz Bank has registered capital of Ft 9 billion and will start out with a staff of 70. It will hire more sales staff jointly with the insurer.
Allianz Hungária has been eyeing Hungary's banking market for years and recently purchased the license of Dresdner Bank in order to enter the market. Allianz Hungária did not disclose the price it paid for the license.