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March 5, 2024
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Interesting Moves in Romania’s Banking Sector

There is an exciting activity in Romania’s banking sector for the end of this year. Banks prepare for takeover or launching in Romania, and specialists consider all these good signs for investors. Also, this is a strong signal that the banking sector in Romania is still attractive to foreign financial entities, which is impressive for a country which is fighting skyrocketing inflation and preparing for the worst-case scenario in terms of entrepreneurial opportunities after the Socialists, currently in power, have drastically changed the Romanian Fiscal Code before the end of the year, thus changing the rules during the game.

Precisely, Intesa San Paolo Bank is preparing to take over First Bank’s operations in Romania. First Bank, a financial entity now belonging to investment fund J.C. Flowers, had, in its turn, bought the Leumi Bank’s operations in 2020. They entered Romania’s market after acquiring Piraeus Bank in 2017.

The reported number of the current transaction is EUR 130 Million, but the Italian bank’s representatives say this will double their share in Romania. According to Romania’s Central Bank, Intesa San Paolo had a market share of 1.09% at the end of 2022, while First Bank had a 1.10% market share.

This operation doubles our presence in Romania, a country of significant economic growth with strong ties to Italy, and is in line with our strategy to take advantage of value opportunities while focusing on organic growth and driving profitability. The expansion in Romania strengthens our position as a solid bank in Central and Eastern Europe and actively supports the internationalization of Italian companies.

Marco Elio Rottigni, Intesa San Paolo Bank

Also, the PKO Bank Polski, Poland’s largest bank by assets, is set to begin its operations in Romania from early next year. Reportedly, they will activate only in B2B for loans and operations for SMEs and companies.

We have been monitoring the Romanian market for some time now. Romania’s economy is increasing at a quick pace. Many Polish companies are already investing in the Romanian market, and for some, Romania has become a second home market. The Romanian branch will focus on providing banking services to companies. Our main goal is to be the top choice for leading Polish firms and SMEs. Of the top 10 banks in Romania based on asset levels, eight have no presence in the Polish market. This presents an opportunity for PKO Bank to bridge the economies of both countries.

PKO Bank Polski’s press release

Again, these are good signs that Romania offers good business opportunities in the financial and banking sectors. The fact that both moves regard banks activating in the B2B sector also shows that the business environment in Romania seems attractive to investors.

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