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CORRECTION: OTP with ambitious plans in Slovenia after SKB Banka takeover

The 25-30% market share is the desired target of the OTP group in Slovenia, not of its Slovenian member SKB Banka. Please find corrected and recast the lede and para 5.Ljubljana, 08 January (STA) - OTP, the Hungarian banking group which took over SBK Banka last year, plans to grow in the Slovenian market organically and through potential takeover. OTP CEO Sandor Csanyi believes the group could achieve a 25-30% market share in the country.

SKB Banka was bought from French group Societe Generale and has been part of OTP since mid-December. It had an 8% market share by total assets in 2018, while NLB was the market leader with 23%.

OTP, one of the largest banking groups in SE and eastern Europe, had wished to enter Slovenia for some time, Csanyi said at Wednesday's news conference in Ljubljana.

The group had been unlucky with NKBM and Abanka, but finally made it with SKB Banka, "one of the best banks in the market", he said.

He believes SKB Banka has the potential to grow organically from the fourth place, and should an opportunity arise, OTP would mount more takeovers, although it has no detailed plans on how many banks it would want to buy in Slovenia.

OPT intends to be active here in corporate and retail banking, and introduce innovative new technologies and solutions to become a leader in this segment, he announced.

It will continue financing infrastructure and industrial projects and possibly public infrastructure projects, according to Csanyi.

He also confirmed OPT would invest in the private segment of Emonika, a currently stalled train and bus passenger terminal project in Ljubljana.

SKB Banka has kept its name after the takeover but thoroughly changed its logo.

Since 13 December, it has been led by Anita Stojčevska and Vojka Ravbar as her deputy. Both are Slovenian, and worked for the bank for many years before.

Stojčevska believes that OTP as its strategic owner with a long-term vision of growth would enable the Ljubljana-based bank to implement its strategy.

The bank will continue integration into OTP and further adapt to OTP standards.

She could not reveal 2019 results beyond saying she believed they would be very good.

According to Stojčevska, the bank's market share measured by loans is around 10%, by housing loans almost 14%, and by deposits around 9%.

SKB Banka's leasing arm, SKB Leasing, is also an important player, and so is OTP, she stressed.

The bank intends to optimise its processes and pursue digitalisation to offer its clients new technical solutions and improve their banking experience.

It plans to improve e-banking and mobile banking, but has no ambition to expand its network of physical bank offices around the country.

Three of its bank offices no longer do business in cash, so this is a direction to be pursued, she announced.

SKB Banka plans no lay-offs, on the contrary, it is increasing the number of employees, especially in research jobs, according to Stojčevska.

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