Top 100 See - - Front Page - By Velizar Uzunov

Ro­ma­nia’s Banca Comer­ciala Ro­mana (BCR) led the TOP 100 banks for the sec­ond year run­ning in 2011, while the sec­ond and the third one in the 2010 rank­ing switched po­si­tions last year. All banks in the top 10 in the 2011 rank­ing ex­cept one – NLB at num­ber three – saw their as­sets rise. Some 60% of the banks in the 2011 rank­ing in­creased their as­set value.

In terms of net profit, 40% of banks reg­is­tered an in­crease, com­pared to about 25% in 2010. Lenders, how­ever, re­main cau­tious in view of the on­go­ing cri­sis, which forces them to in­crease pro­vi­sions and puts pres­sure on their bal­ance sheets.

The high­est net profit posted by a bank in­cluded in the SEE TOP 100 Banks 2011 rank­ing was 174.8 mil­lion euro, while the big­gest loss was 282.2 mil­lion euro.

The leader in the rank­ing, BCR, had to­tal as­sets of 17.1 bil­lion euro at the end of last year, 5.63% up from 2010. The bank’s net profit, how­ever, de­creased by more than 66% to 56.7 mil­lion euro. BCR at­trib­uted the fall to lower net op­er­at­ing in­come and high pro­vi­sion­ing in cor­po­rate lend­ing as the gen­er­ally dif­fi­cult 2011 and espe­cially the un­ex­pected eco­nomic slow­down in the sec­ond half of the year af­fected the business and in­come of the bank’s cus­tomers and had a neg­a­tive im­pact on their trans­ac­tions with the bank.

Croa­tia’s Za­gre­backa Banka (ZABA) ranked sec­ond in 2011, with to­tal as­sets of 13.8 bil­lion euro at the end of the year, re­plac­ing Slove­nia’s NLB. For a sec­ond year run­ning ZABA posted the high­est net profit among the TOP 100 banks - 174.8 mil­lion euro, up from 173.5 mil­lion euro in 2010.

Za­gre­backa said that its solid fi­nan­cial per­for­mance was largely due to in­creased in­come from lend­ing to cor­po­rate clients and the pub­lic sec­tor, along with im­proved cost and process ef­fi­ciency.

NLB, Slove­nia’s largest bank, dropped to the third po­si­tion in the 2011 rank­ing from the sec­ond one in 2010 af­ter lead­ing the list in each of 2008 and 2009. The bank’s to­tal as­sets fell 6.15% to 12.98 bil­lion euro, while its net loss swelled to 233.2 mil­lion euro from 183.4 mil­lion euro in 2010.

Ac­cord­ing to NLB’s an­nual report, the higher bank's net loss was due to the neg­a­tive ef­fects of the op­er­a­tions of sub­sidiaries, which do not form the strate­gic core of the NLB Group, as well as to higher loan pro­vi­sion­ing. The bank at­trib­uted the fall in the value of its as­sets to the dis­con­tin­u­a­tion of cer­tain un­prof­itable ac­tiv­i­ties and the with­drawal from cer­tain mar­kets.

Ro­ma­nian bank BRD, a unit of French bank­ing group So­ci­ete Gen­erale, kept its fourth po­si­tion with to­tal as­sets of 11.3 bil­lion euro. BRD had the fourth high­est net profit in 2011 of 108.7 mil­lion euro, down from 232.5 mil­lion euro a year ear­lier.

Ro­ma­nia leads the TOP 100 banks rank­ing by the num­ber of en­tries with 21, fol­lowed by Bul­garia with 18 and Slove­nia with 17. In 2010, Ro­ma­nia gave away the first place to Bul­garia and Ser­bia due to the wors­ened eco­nomic con­di­tions in the coun­try but man­aged to re­gain the top po­si­tion with seven new en­tries in 2011.

Ser­bia had 16 lenders in the 2011 rank­ing, down from 18 in 2010. Croa­tia and Bos­nia have nine and seven, re­spec­tively. The num­ber of Mace­do­nian, Al­ba­nian and Moldovan rep­re­sen­ta­tives re­mained un­changed from the 2010 rank­ing, at three, five and two, re­spec­tively. Mon­tene­gro has two banks in the 2011 rank­ing, com­pared to three a year ear­lier. Bul­garia’s Cor­po­rate Com­mer­cial Bank AD ad­vanced the most in the 2011 rank­ing, jump­ing 11 places to the 35th spot. The lender’s as­sets grew 49.8% to 2.067 bil­lion euro, while its net profit fell by some 18% to 31.2 mil­lion euro. Just like in 2010, Bul­gar­ian De­vel­op­ment Bank was the sec­ond-best ad­vancer in the 2011 rank­ing, this time with a jump of 10 places to the 68th place. Its as­sets rose by al­most

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