After going through a huge period of instability, in 2017, Romania was rated as ‘stable’ when it came to the banking system. There are several different reasons for this; perhaps the biggest is down to the fact that the economy is a lot more stable as a whole, although increased banking regulation has ensured that banks in Romania are a lot less likely to ‘lose’ deposited funds.
The central bank for Romania is "National Bank of Romania", known as Banca Națională a României in Romanian. It is one of the oldest central banks in the world, originally formed in 1880. To this day, it is located in Bucharest.
Every bank is influenced by the decisions made by the National Bank of Romania. It is this bank which is responsible for setting monetary policy, issuing currency, and helping deal with exchange rates. The central government also plays a huge role when it comes to the creation of legislation designed to regulate these banks. However, do bear in mind that Romania has a lot less stringent banking legislation than banks found throughout Western Europe, which does mean that money stored in Romanian banks is likely to be at more of a risk than elsewhere, although increased interest rates do help to offset this somewhat.
For such a small economy, there is a surprising number of banking operations within Romania. This includes:
In fact, about 77% of the assets for banks in Romania actually come from foreign capital. This is actually a decrease. Just a few years back, about 90% of the assets held by Romanian banks was foreign capital. This decrease goes to show just how much more stable people believe the Romanian banking system is starting to become.
The biggest banks in Romania come under the BCR banner. This is actually part of an Austrian bank called Erste Group, although the operations of BCR are completely separate from Austria.
At the time of writing, the assets held by Banca Comerciala Romana total RON 70.93 billion, with about RON 2.24 billion per year in revenue. The bulk of their assets are tied up in retail banking, although they also offer investment banking services. This comes in the form of 551 retail branches and 22 corporate branches. There are also mobile branches of the bank which are able to reach parts of Romania that their traditional retail outlets are unable to meet.
Like BCR, this bank came into fruition in 1990. However, unlike BCR, it did not grow from scratch. Instead, an investment consortium purchased all the assets and the liabilities of a bank called Banca de Investitii, which was going through a touch of trouble at the time. Like BCR, the bulk of the cash for BRD is generated through retail outlets. There are actually more retail outlets here, with 870 across the country serving 2.2 million customers.
A lot of largest companies in Romania deal with BRD. The company is part of Societe Generale, which is based in France. In 2017, the assets for this bank totalled RON 54.93 billion and the revenue was just a fraction of that at RON 1.86 billion. However, the low revenue can be explained away by the fact that the company is going through a period of rapid expansion which means that a lot of cash is tied up in this, and the tying up of cash means less in the way of profit.
This bank popped up in 1994. It deals with retail, small businesses and corporate companies. However, Banca Transilvania does have a speciality. This is that it deals mostly with agriculture, healthcare, and companies that wish to invest within Europe. This means that much of the income for the bank is derived from companies that deal in those sectors.
The total assets for this bank are RON 59.3 billion, with RON 2.02 billion making it one of the biggest banks in Romania.
Despite only have 157 branches and 600,000 customers, UniCredit Bank has fast become one of the biggest banks in Romania. A lot of the reason for this is that the bulk of their assets come from multinational corporations who are looking to break into Romania, as well as Romanian companies that are looking to invest overseas. In 2017, the assets for the bank were RON 43.5 billion, with revenue of RON 1.35 billion.
The banks discussed so far were formed in the 90s when Romania was going through huge changes in the economy. CEC Bank is one of the oldest banks in the country. In fact, its history started in 1881. Much of its income is derived from investing in agriculture, public projects, and development projects. It could be argued that this bank has been at the forefront of development throughout Romania.
The total assets for CEC bank are RON 28.16 billion and revenues of RON 912.56 million.
This bank is owned by the National Bank of Greece, which means it did suffer a few issues during the Greek Banking Crisis which it has only just managed to recover from. It deals mostly with corporate clients across its five corporate business locations. However, there is also a shade over 100 retail outlets scattered throughout Romania.
Current asset holdings for this bank are RON 6.44 billion, with a revenue of 242.6 million in 2016.
This is one of the newer banks on this list, having started in 1994. However, it is backed by Alpha Bank Group which is the largest financial group in Greece which was barely impacted by the financial crisis. This is one of the biggest banks in Romania with assets of RON 14.73 billion and revenue of 486.64 million.