Emporiki turns to retail

Emporiki Bank, the fourth largest in Greece in terms of assets, is hoping to double retail banking revenues over the next five years with the launch of Pegasus, an integrated information program it recently implemented. Opening a renamed and revamped branch in central Athens yesterday, Yiannis Stournaras, the company’s governor, said its optimism is based on the bank’s success in boosting its net interest margin last year, which was the highest among the five major banks. «We plan to target the credit card market,» he said. According to Bank of Greece statistics released yesterday, credit card borrowing still constitutes a strong growth area for banks, with growth up by 36 percent in February. Emporiki is estimated to have a 12 percent market share in loans and 11 percent in deposits. It has been aggressively expanding its consumer and mortgage lending portfolio in the past three years. Pegasus is expected to play a key role in helping Emporiki to increase its market share. The program is central to the network restructuring planned for all branches, the main strengths of which are centralized back office operations, a segmented customer base and personal financial advisers. Stournaras said the overhaul will extend to 15 branches and eventually cover all outlets by the end of 2004. The changes come at an estimated cost of about 15 million euros to be spread out over the next two years. «In terms of net economic costs, it’s zero, as all branches were due for renovation anyway,» Stournaras said. French mutual Credit Agricole holds a 9 percent stake in Emporiki. Shares of Emporiki fell 0.18 percent yesterday to close at 11.34 euros.