ECONOMY

National Bank still the leader but market share slips

Competition among Greek banks is already very heavy and it seems any realignment of market shares in lending, which is their main business, is a very difficult prospect. This, of course, may not be a matter of top priority, as current annual growth rates continue to be high at 19 percent. Nevertheless, an analysis of banks’ 2003 first-half results reveals certain differentiations that are worth noting. The first is the decline in the market share of the National Bank of Greece (NBG), which is now followed closely by Alpha Bank in second place and EFG Eurobank Ergasias in third. Even in comparison with Piraeus Bank, which was only launched 11 years ago, NBG’s market share is only double in terms of lending volume. In deposits, too, NBG’s market share fell below 30 percent from the 32.9 percent it had last year. NBG’s share of the lending market declined to 21.0 percent from 22.4 in June 2002. Alpha Bank advanced slightly from 18.7 percent to 18.8 percent, while EFG Eurobank slipped from 15.4 percent to 15.3 percent. Emporiki Bank (formerly Commercial), advanced from 11.9 percent to 12.2 percent and Piraeus rose from 9.8 percent last year to 10.2 percent. Piraeus Bank’s share includes the 1.5 percent belonging to ETBAbank, which is in the process of being absorbed. In total, Greece’s five largest banks account for 77.5 percent of total lending, which is a high concentration figure by European standards, irrespective of the small size of the Greek market. Public sector banks (excluding the special-purpose Agricultural Bank and the Postal Savings Bank) account for 37.3 percent of lending, also a high percentage by EU standards. General Bank has a 2.6 percent share, Egnatia Bank 2.0 percent, Bank of Attica 1.5 percent and Aspis 1.3 percent. Among foreign subsidiaries, the Bank of Cyprus holds the largest lending share with 3.5 percent, up from 3.2 percent last year, Citibank follows with 1.6 percent and down from 1.8 percent last year; Laiki is next with 1.5 percent, followed by HSBC with 1.4 percent. Among the newcomers to the market, NovaBank has been rather stagnant at 0.6 percent, while Probank and Omega Bank have respective shares of 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent.