Erste Bank is the second largest commercial bank in Austria. With 2,900 branches and 46,000 employees, Erste Group is also one of the largest financial services providers in the Eastern part of EU. It is the largest retail bank in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania and is among the TOP5 players in number of other countries such as Hungary, or Croatia.
Thanks to its aggressive acquisition policy and strong growth in the CEE, Erste Bank has increased its revenues five-fold in the last decade. On the other hand, low margin Austrian business and problems in Romania and Hungary maintain pressure on the Group's bottom line.
The expansion into higher interest rate countries and deposit-fat retail banks improved Group's margins. From poor 1.4% seen in 1999, Erste Bank Group's net interest margin has increased to 2.47% in 2012