IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

How Important Are Foreign Banks in European Transition Countries? A Comparative Analysis


  • Hanneke Bol

    (University of Groningen)

  • Jakob de Haan

    (University of Groningen)

  • Bert Scholtens

    (University of Groningen)

  • Ralph de Haas

    (De Nederlandsche Bank)


This paper analyses the development of the banking sector in twelve transition countries. Foreign banks have become major players in the financial system of these countries. Still, foreign bank presence and financial development in general vary considerably between these economies. Distance from the home country is an important determinant for a foreign bank to enter a specific country. The most frequently used mode of entry is buying (part) of a domestic bank. This share is gradually expanded until a majority share is held. It turns out that foreign banks have, in general, higher profitability and efficiency levels than domestic banks.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpif:0209005
    Note: Type of Document - Word; prepared on PC; to print on HP;

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert G. King & Ross Levine, 1993. "Finance and Growth: Schumpeter Might Be Right," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 717-737.
    2. R.T.A. de Haas & I. van Lelyveld, 2002. "Foreign Bank Penetration and Bank Credit Stability in Central and Eastern Europe," Research Series Supervision (discontinued) 43, Netherlands Central Bank, Directorate Supervision.
    3. Ross Levine, 1997. "Financial Development and Economic Growth: Views and Agenda," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 688-726, June.
    4. Kraft, Evan & Tirtiroglu, Dogan, 1998. "Bank Efficiency in Croatia: A Stochastic-Frontier Analysis," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 282-300, June.
    5. Cludia M. Buch, 1997. "Opening up for foreign banks: How Central and Eastern Europe can benefit," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 5(2), pages 339-366, November.
    6. Sabi, Manijeh, 1996. "Comparative Analysis of Foreign and Domestic Bank Operations in Hungary," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 179-188, April.
    7. John P. Bonin & Istvan Abel, 2000. "Retail Banking in Hungary: A Foreign Affair?," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 356, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    8. Lukasz Konopielko, 1999. "Foreign Banks' Entry into Central and East European Markets: Motives and Activities," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(4), pages 463-485.
    9. Nancy L Wagner & Dora M Iakova, 2001. "Financial Sector Evolution in the Central European Economies; Challenges in Supporting Macroeconomic Stability and Sustainable Growth," IMF Working Papers 01/141, International Monetary Fund.
    10. Mohsin S. Khan & Abdelhak S Senhadji, 2000. "Financial Development and Economic Growth; An Overview," IMF Working Papers 00/209, International Monetary Fund.
    11. Ralph de Haas, 2002. "Finance, law and growth during transition: a survey," International Finance 0209001, EconWPA.
    12. Hasan, Iftekhar & Marton, Katherin, 2003. "Development and efficiency of the banking sector in a transitional economy: Hungarian experience," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(12), pages 2249-2271, December.
    13. King, Robert G. & Levine, Ross, 1993. "Finance, entrepreneurship and growth: Theory and evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 513-542, December.
    14. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 1999. "A new database on financial development and structure," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2146, The World Bank.
    15. Scholtens, Bert, 2000. "Financial regulation and financial system architecture in Central Europe," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 525-553, April.
    16. Claessens, Stijn & Demirguc-Kunt, Asl[iota] & Huizinga, Harry, 2001. "How does foreign entry affect domestic banking markets?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 891-911, May.
    17. Steinherr, Alfred, 1997. "Banking Reforms in Eastern European Countries," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(2), pages 106-125, Summer.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Marko Košak & Peter Zajc & Jelena Zorić, 2009. "Bank efficiency differences in the new EU member states," Baltic Journal of Economics, Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy Studies, vol. 9(2), pages 67-90, December.

    More about this item


    Comparative Financial Systems; Financial Markets; Financial Institutions; Financial Development; Transition Economies.;

    JEL classification:

    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • P34 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Finance


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpif:0209005. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.