Commercial Specialist responsible for the sector:
Zdenek Svoboda, Zdenek Svoboda@trade.gov
Reports available to US companies upon request:
Banking & Financial Services in the Czech Republic (2007)
Czech banks so far have gone through the banking crisis as one of the strongest in Europe. This is primarily due to a lower ratio of customer loans to customer deposits, the high propensity of Czech consumers to save and the careful approach of Czech banks to lending.
The Czech financial sector is extremely conservative when compared to international benchmarks. Czechs have a very low debt level, almost a fifth of the UK. Higher deposits make local banks less dependent on other sources of financing. Czech banks's focus primarily on classic retail banking (loans and deposits) and are much less involved in investment banking, which is common in the United States.
There are 38 banks operating in the Czech Republic, but the market is dominated by a small number of foreign (primarily European) banks, including CSOB (KBC, Belgium), Ceska Sporitelna – CS (Erste Bank, Austria), Komercni banka – KB (Société Générale, France), and UniCredit Bank (Unicredit Group, Italy). The three major banks CSOB, CS and KB generated a combined net profit of CZK 26.8 billion in the first three quarters of 2008, up by 13% from previous year. The market is fairly open and looks increasingly like that of other EU countries.