By Adalbert Winkler
At the start of the transition strategy, the international locations of primary and japanese Europe confronted the duty of making a functioning economic climate the place none had existed sooner than. A decade later, high-level practitioners and famous specialists take inventory of banking and financial coverage within the zone, centring on: the governance of banks; the unfold of monetary situation; and, views for financial coverage and banking quarter development.
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Additional info for Banking and Monetary Policy in Eastern Europe: The First Ten Years
Unlike Romania and Bulgaria, even SMEs could not develop fast enough in these rapidly declining economies due to the other main factors worth mentioning here: self-serving bureaucratic bottlenecks, devastating criminalization of economic and social life and finally rampant corruption. Rent-seeking behaviour and public acceptance of corruption predominate. It cripples almost all economic activity, but first and foremost productive investment. As a consequence, except for firms in the export sector, creditworthy clients are few and far between while opportunities to make money in corporate lending are scarce and profitability is much higher in other areas.
Why is it not possible for Central and Eastern Europe to follow their example? There are several reasons, some of them decisive. First, communism was too long and too successful in destroying trust in domestic private institutions and a tradition of prudent behaviour in economic and social life. Second, when the futile communist experience in economic management was finally over, world markets were already characterized by massive cross-border transactions and international competition was producing new and improved services at a scale never seen before.
Banking supervision, in turn, has become a politically sensitive and controversial business where strong vested interests, at times working against prudent practices, have prevailed. It is not so much the weak intellectual capacity but the lack of political support which has prevented tough prudential regulation and supervision from being implemented. Desperate reformers Desperate reformers have the following characteristics: • Few large insolvent banks are still in government hands • Desperate attempts have been made to privatize sizeable banks • Quite a number of insolvent banks are still to be rehabilitated or liquidated • Portfolio quality is largely poor, except for some smaller banks • Prudential behaviour is still marginal in corporate governance • Quality of services and retail banking is slowly improving • There are very small and illiquid capital markets with low foreign investment • Regulation is improving with uneven and unpredictable enforcement • Competition is weak, and foreign subsidiaries are playing only a marginal role • Non-bank financial intermediation is in a pre-transition stage • There is serious intention for further liberalization including crossborder transactions • There is a lack of institutional investors, with no pension reform in sight Except for Albania and the former members of the now defunct Soviet Union, Romania and Bulgaria have truly inherited nothing but the worst from the communist system in Eastern Europe.
Banking and Monetary Policy in Eastern Europe: The First Ten Years by Adalbert Winkler