Private, personal, premium or just regular banking with a different name ? (Romania)

BCR (Erste Group), Raiffeisen, BRD Societe Generale, OTP, Citibank, Leumi, ING, Bancpost (EFG), Unicredit Tiriac (Unicredit Group), RBS have all been ”fighting” for attracting the wealth of the rich. Their arguments before and now during the financial crisis were all about assisting wealthy to not only safe guard their cash but also to increase  their fortunes. In an emerging market such as Romania, all the more pompous denominations, the more buzz generated, unfortunately more in the media, rather than among the actual potential or existing customers.

In the past 3 years Swiss private banks such as Sarasin or UBS have also been actively seeking customers in Romania, through sales managers based in Switzerland. Unlike Guttman of Austria which actually set up a legal local entity, Sarasin and UBS have been ”operating” from a distance. The key argument of these banks is protecting cash reserves by moving them abroad, which is unfortunately not an option which local banks can offer. 

The thin segment of the wealthy customers has been literally ”bombarded with the offers of these banks, most promoting a gold, black or platinum card with more or less the same facilities, bonds, investment funds and regular deposits ar ”promotional” interest rates. Is that all ? Many customers have found that in some cases, it is even less, some of the banks lacking a minimal customer service standard for these services, let alone a dedicate concierge type service which would be expected. Mention should also be made that banks such as BRD (Societe Generale) and RBS promote their Visa Black Card despite the fact that local fiscal legislation does not regulate this type of cards, which, therefore constitute a loop for avoiding regulations.

CPP has been reviewing the private banking sector for more than 3 years before producing a comprehensive analysis, which will actually be included in the Luxury Market Report Romania. The report will be presented at the 2011 edition of CPP’s annual B2B event BUSINESS OF LUXURY FORUM, on March 26th.