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Slovenia Business Week no. 44/2004: Another Foreign Bank Entering Slovenian Market

An Austrian bank is entering the Slovenian banking market with a branch office to be opened in Ljubljana on 10 November

An Austrian bank is entering the Slovenian banking market with a branch office to be opened in Ljubljana on 10 November.

A universal bank for households and companies, Bank fuer Kaernten und Steiermark (BKS Bank) is a regional bank which was established in 1922 by industrialists from the Austrian province of Carinthia.

Its major shareholders are two banks, namely Oberbank and Bank fuer Tirol in Voralerberg, which jointly hold a 37 percent stake in BKS Bank. The three form group "3 Banken Gruppe", a seventh largest Austrian bank. The group is present in Austria and its neighbours.

Each of the three banks operates under its own name, a news conference in Klagenfurt was told by Heimo Penker, a member of the board. By using the synergy resulting from cooperation, however, they can operate on the market as one large bank.

BKS Bank's total assets amounted to EUR 4.2bn at the end of 2003, which gave the bank a 10 percent market share in Carinthia. In terms of loans to businesses, on the other hand, the bank held a 15 percent share. Its 2003 revenues were EUR 107.1m and profit EUR 41.2m.

The bank, which has 54 branch offices and employs 742 workers, has been present in Slovenia since 1998 through BKS Leasing, a company whose annual revenues are around EUR 50m.

The bank's new branch office in Ljubljana will first focus on loans; companies will be offered long-term and short-term investment loans as well as loans for current assets and guarantees. Its retail banking, on the other hand, is expected to be centred on long-term mortgage loans, and short-repayment consumer loans.

BKS Bank expects the volume of loans in Slovenia to reach EUR 30m in the first year. The bank would then examine in 2005 the possibility for introducing savings accounts, investments and investments to funds; some of the services could be introduced in 2006.

When Slovenia introduces the euro, the Austrian bank is planning to undertake payment transactions. After 2007, another branch office could be opened in Slovenia.

Source: Slovene Press Agency STA

Author: Branka Murn