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OTP Bank Romania plans to nearly double branch number in five years

OTP Bank's Romanian unit wants to raise its number of branches from 106 to about 200 in five years, expanding either organically or through acquisitions, OTP Bank Romania CEO Lázló Diósi told MTI in Bucharest.

OTP Bank entered the Romanian market in August 2004 with the acquisition of RoBank for $47.5 million. The bank had only corporate clients, it did not issue bank cards, it had no ATMs and did not offer online banking services.

“We had to make something new out of practically nothing,” Diósi said. Over five years, however, the small bank has become a universal bank with 200,000 corporate and retail clients and total assets worth more than HUF 367 billion at the end of 2008, he added.

The original goal was to achieve 4%-5% market share, but competition grew fierce and the bank now has 1%-2% market share based on total assets, Diósi said. In some areas, market share is more: 5% in the fund management segment and 4% in the mortgage lending segment, he added.

Romania's banking sector is about to go through a period of consolidation because of excess capacity built up when the country's economy was growing at a fast clip in 1999-2008. Some banks will be sold and others closed, but OTP Bank Romania does not have to downsize because of its healthy growth, rather it wants to continue to expand, Diósi said.

OTP Bank Romania's presence extends across the entire area of the country, though it is especially strong in areas with Hungarian minorities, Mr Diosi said. In areas with Hungarian minorities, the bank has branches in towns with as few as 10,000 inhabitants. In areas where there are no Hungarian minorities, it has opened branches only in cities with 50,000 or more inhabitants. (MTI – Econews)