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15 December 2014

KPMG's Banking Executive Survey 2014: Optimism, regulation on the horizon

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KPMG Banking Executive Survey 2014
Things may be looking up just down the road for the banking sector in many economies in CEE, according to KPMG's Banking Executive Survey 2014. Highlighting the overall positive economic portrait for the countries included in the study – Austria, the Balkan and Baltic States, Belarus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – participants feel that overall things are on the upswing.

The European economies are moderately recovering, but unfortunately this is not directly translating into optimism for the banking sector – yet,” remarks Zdeněk Tůma, partner and Financial Services Leader for KPMG in the Czech Republic. “Despite this, bank CEOs who participated in our study are expressing optimism, with the exception of Belarus and Hungary. Positive growth is forecast for 2014, and the financial sector may be dawdling a bit, but our respondents see it coming into alignment with other sectors of these economies.

Overall, participants say they expect their revenues to exceed or match those for 2013 for 2014-15, and almost half of them indicate better results for next year. This is in great contrast to 2012: this year, 40% describe the standing of their sector as “better”; only 13% did so in 2012.

One result appears unanimous: the CEOs expect increasing regulation in the next 5 years. “The question mark hanging over everyone's head, according to our survey participants, is how much will the banking rules cost. The implementation rules are now more or less known, but the final costs are where the rubber hits the road, i.e. when we actually see how it will affect their business.

The key topics for participating bankers are improved mining of data, new technologies and better harnessing of customer experience. Regarding financial institutions' cost strategies, the survey displays the level of their tendency towards cost cutting versus investments for long-term growth, showing a slight leaning towards cost cutting. Zdeněk Tůma comments, “This preference is by no means drastic at present. Banks in our region appear to be in a bit of a balancing act, so it looks like there will be no drastic measures taken.

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