Vojvodjanska to lead NBG’s Serb expansion

The National Bank of Greece (NBG) group will complete the consolidation of Serbia’s Vojvodjanska Banka next year, which will spearhead the group’s further expansion in a market with promising growth potential, CEO Takis Arapoglou said yesterday. «This move, along with the acquisition of Turkey’s Finansbank last year, gives a significant boost to NBG’s presence in the market of Southeast Europe, where the group now serves a client base of about 12 million people,» he told a press briefing in Novi Sad. Arapoglou said Vojvodjanska will maintain its name and tradition in the local market. The NBG group plans to invest about 40 million in new technology, infrastructure and personnel training in the Serbian bank. The acquisition will make the NBG group the fifth largest in Serbia by assets and second largest by size of branch network (204 branches). NBG now has a network of 35 branches in Serbia which are planned to be merged with Vojvodjanska’s. According to NBG’s three-year business plan, Southeastern Europe will contribute 13 percent of the group’s revenues in 2009, of which 20 percent will be generated in Serbia. Novi Sad-based Vojvodjanska was acquired by NBG last year, after a privatization tender in which 11 other European banks initially expressed interest.