ECONOMY

New CEO for NovaBank

NovaBank, the joint banking venture between insurance group Interamerican and Portugal’s Banco Comercial Portugues, yesterday promoted its general manager to the post of chief executive. Giorgos Taniskidis, 41, replaces Yiannis Pexlivanidis, the chief executive who headed NovaBank from its launch two years ago. NovaBank did not give any explanation for the management change. Taniskidis, a former lawyer, started his banking career at Xios Bank. He rose through the ranks to become the manager of its product and customer service division. He was promoted to the post of deputy general manager after the bank was acquired by Piraeus Bank in 1998, and joined NovaBank as general manager two years ago. NovaBank launched a new banking model in Greece when it opened for operations in 2000 with its decision to exclusively target the retail market. Expansion has been aggressive and rapid, based principally on the explosive growth in consumer credit in Greece. At the end of January, it had signed up 115,000 clients, with the figure projected to double to 350,000 by the end of 2003. It is due to add nine new outlets this year to its chain of 84 branches. The goal next year is a total of 120 outlets. Early this year, NovaBank announced plans to become a full-fledged financial institution by expanding into business and private banking. It intends to open 10 outlets for the first activity and three branches for the second in the first quarter of 2003. NovaBank acquired Turkish bank Sitebank in January of this year and said it intends to strengthen its presence in neighboring countries in the future. It posted a loss of 29 million euros in the first 16 months of its operation but expects to see profits in 2003.