Gulliver and the Lilliputians on the banking market of Serbia
The takeover wave that has splashed over the banking market of Serbia is, on the one hand, quite expected, and, on the other hand, completely unexpected.
It is expected because experts claim that 29 banks are too many for a country whose gross domestic product last year was less than EUR 37 billion. However, it is unexpected because the existing local banks were previously mostly bought by foreigners, while in recent years banks with foreign capital are bought by local businessmen.
In professional circles, there is almost a consensus that the consolidation of the banking market of Serbia is yet to come, because banks with a market share of less than one-two percent can hardly survive in the increasingly fierce competition.
Currently, there are as many as 14 banks with a market share of less than 1.5 percent. All of them together approved only 7.5% of total loans, while the share of the six largest banks, Intesa, Komercijalnabanka, UniCredit, SocieteGenerale, Raiffeisen and AIK banka was eight times higher – 62.2%.
Almost each of these six banks has a share larger than these 14 small banks together. That is why, for economic journalist MiskoBrkic, the ratio of forces on the Serbian banking market is reminiscent of six “Gullivers” and the “Lilliputians”.