Israeli group Kardan, which controls GTC–one of the largest office developers in Romania, decided to enter the Romanian banking market as well, by opening a branch of its Bulgarian TBI Bank.
The Israeli group decided to use the “single European passport,” which allows the bank to operate as a commercial bank in Romania based on a license obtained in Bulgaria, without having to go through the authorization process necessary for a credit institution or to get the approval of central bank BNR for a potential acquisition.
The Romanian branch of TBI Bank EAS has already been registered in the Registry of credit institutions, and the new bank already has the go-ahead from BNR to start operations, but logistical preparations could take a while.
Supervision of the Romanian branch of TBI Bank is in the hands of Bulgaria’s central bank, while Romanian BNR will mainly monitor liquidity indicators, the setting up of minimum reserve requirements and whether the branch meets requirements on the prevention of money laundering.
In Bulgaria TBI is licensed as a universal bank, covering retail, SMEs and corporate banking. Banking sources say the Romanian branch will in turn work both with individuals and with companies.
TBI is fully controlled by TBIH Financial Services group registered in the Netherlands and held by the Kardan group.
In the past three years the bank recorded losses in crisis, with the most difficult year being 2010, and at the end of last year reported assets of around EUR38 billion.
The Romanian branch of TBI will join the financial group structure that Kardan created in Romania, where it has operated for several years through TBI Leasing, TBI Credit (consumer loans), TBI Fleet Management and TBI Insurance (brokerage).