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Retail Banking in Hungary: A Foreign Affair?

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  • John P. Bonin
  • Istvan Abel

Abstract

Over the last decade, Hungary has experienced more foreign bank entry than any country in world, starting with foreign greenfield operations and then followed by the privatization of four of its largest banks to strategic foreign owners. Currently about two thirds of all banking assets in Hungary are foreign owned; the only major bank without a foreign owner is Országos Takarékpénztár és Kereskedelmi Bank (OTP). During a decade in which lending to households declined in real terms until recently and household deposits remained relatively steady at around 20% of GDP, OTP lost its monopoly in retail banking to foreign-owned banks. By the end of the decade, OTP held shares of just over 50% in both household deposit and credit markets. In the last half of the decade, foreign banks increased substantially their market shares and currently hold more than 40% of all household deposits and about 40% of all loans to households. In this paper, we identify the important role played by foreign greenfield operations in intermediation within the household sector, especially from 1997. We provide evidence that, once they take control of formerly state-owned banks, strategic foreign investors move aggressively into retail banking. As the decade came to a close, retail banking was a growth industry in Hungary and foreign-owned banks were actively participating in both markets. Foreign entry provided healthy competition to OTP and prodded this widely held domestically controlled bank to develop new products and better services for Hungarian households. Over the last half of the decade, bank cards have been introduced to Hungarian households and transactions using these cards have grown by a factor of more than five. Over half of the population uses bank cards twice a month on average, almost exclusively for cash withdrawals from their current accounts. By investing heavily in information technology and using its extensive branch network, OTP has become the market leader in this new, growing business with more than 40% of all ATMs and bank cards issued in Hungary and more than 70% of all bank card transactions. Our analysis of OTP's behavior indicates that domestically controlled banks with local expertise may have a significant role to play in retail banking in small, open transition (or emerging) economies.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan in its series William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series with number 356.

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Length: pages
Date of creation: 01 Dec 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2000-356

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Keywords: hungarian banking; retail banking in emerging markets; foreign bank entry;

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References

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  1. B. Gerard Dages & Linda Goldberg & Daniel Kinney, 2000. "Foreign and domestic bank participation in emerging markets: lessons from Mexico and Argentina," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Sep, pages 17-36.
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Cited by:
  1. Hanneke Bol & Jakob de Haan & Bert Scholtens & Ralph de Haas, 2002. "How Important Are Foreign Banks in European Transition Countries? A Comparative Analysis," International Finance 0209005, EconWPA.
  2. Erik Berglof & Patrick Bolton, 2002. "The Great Divide and Beyond: Financial Architecture in Transition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 77-100, Winter.
  3. Claudia M. Buch & Gayle L. DeLong, 2001. "Cross-Border Bank Mergers: What Lures the Rare Animal?," Kiel Working Papers 1070, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  4. Colombo, Emilio & Stanca, Luca, 2006. "Investment decisions and the soft budget constraint: evidence from Hungarian manufacturing firms," MPRA Paper 18708, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Ilko Naaborg & Bert Scholtens & Jakob de Haan & Hanneke Bol & Ralph de Haas, 2003. "How Important are Foreign Banks in the Financial Development of European Transition Countries?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1100, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Giannetti, Mariassunta & Ongena, Steven, 2005. "Financial Integration and Entrepreneurial Activity: Evidence from Foreign Bank Entry in Emerging Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 5151, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Pozzolo, Alberto Franco, 2008. "Bank Cross-Border Merger and Acquisitions (Causes, consequences and recent trends)," Economics & Statistics Discussion Papers esdp08048, University of Molise, Dept. EGSeI.
  8. Akbar, Yusaf H. & McBride, J. Brad, 2004. "Multinational enterprise strategy, foreign direct investment and economic development: the case of the Hungarian banking industry," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 89-105, February.
  9. Volkhart Vincentz, 2002. "Entwicklungen und Tendenzen der Finanzsysteme in Osteuropa," Working Papers 237, Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (Institute for East and South-East European Studies).
  10. Karligash Kenjegalieva & Richard Simper, 2010. "A Productivity analysis of Eastern European banking taking into account risk decomposition and environmental variables," Discussion Paper Series 2010_02, Department of Economics, Loughborough University, revised Jan 2010.
  11. Hasan, Iftekhar & Marton, Katherin, 2000. "Development and Efficiency of the Banking Sector in a Transitional Economy: Hungarian Experience," BOFIT Discussion Papers 7/2000, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
  12. Linda Goldberg, 2004. "Financial-Sector FDI and Host Countries: New and Old Lessons," NBER Working Papers 10441, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. John P. Bonin, 2001. "Financial Intermediation in Southeast Europe: Banking On the Balkans," wiiw Balkan Observatory Working Papers 006, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
  14. Linda Goldberg, 2004. "Financial-sector foreign direct investment and host countries: new and old lessons," Staff Reports 183, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  15. Bonin, John P., 2004. "Banking in the Balkans: the structure of banking sectors in Southeast Europe," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 141-153, June.

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