Al­pha turns fo­cus to in­vest­ment bank­ing after ab­sorb­ing Citibank

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY EV­GE­NIA TZORTZI

Al­pha Bank’s ap­point­ment of Yian­nis Emiris as head of in­vest­ment and pri­vate bank­ing is a sign of the lender’s swing to­ward in­vest­ment bank­ing along the lines of Citibank, whose Greek branches Al­pha has ab­sorbed.

The ap­point­ment of Emiris, the for­mer man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of state sell-off fund TAIPED, forms part of Al­pha’s ad­min­is­tra­tive changes fol­low­ing the com­ple­tion of its vol­un­tary exit pro­gram that has led to the de­par­ture of 2,208 em­ploy­ees, in­clud­ing a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of se­nior of­fi­cials.

In the con­text of its turn to­ward in­vest­ment bank­ing, Al­pha is plan­ning the re­design of 50 branches, which along with 20 for­mer Citibank branches will fo­cus on pro­vid­ing ma­jor de­pos­i­tors with prop­erty and wealth man­age­ment so­lu­tions. The new branches will be branded Al­pha Plus and op­er­ate ac­cord­ing to the Citibank model, while they will be staffed by per­son­nel spe­cial­ized in in­vest­ment, ban­cas­sur­ance and other prod­ucts.

The Citibank model was cho­sen as the in­stru­ment for Al­pha’s pen­e­tra­tion into in­vest­ment bank­ing as out of a to­tal of 16,000 wealthy Citibank clients in Greece, about one-third, or some 5,000, had opted for in­vest­ment prod­ucts, while the rate at Al­pha is just 11 per­cent (12,000 out of some 120,000 wealthy clients).

Al­pha’s pol­icy swing to­ward in­vest­ment bank­ing forms part of its man­age­ment strat­egy in fa­vor of in­creas­ing rev­enues from com­mis­sions, given that de­mand for loans will likely re­main sub­dued in 2015, while deal­ing with bad loans con­tin­ues to de­prive the bank of funds and re­sources de­spite the sta­bi­liza­tion of the cre­ation of such loans.

Al­pha’s ac­qui­si­tion of Citibank’s Greek branch net­work in­cluded the bank’s wealth man­age­ment ac­tiv­i­ties for ad­min­is­tered funds of 2 bil­lion euros, in­clud­ing 900 mil­lion euros in de­posits. This has taken the wealth man­age­ment funds ad­min­is­tered by Al­pha to 4.8 bil­lion euros, from 3.7 bil­lion be­fore the trans­ac­tion.

After the ab­sorp­tion of Citibank’s net­work and op­er­a­tions is com­pleted, Al­pha will fo­cus its ef­forts on merg­ing the on­line sys­tems, is a nec­es­sary process for the re­duc­tion of op­er­at­ing ex­pen­di­ture and serv­ing Citibank’s thou­sands of clients.

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