European Business Magazine is pleased to announce the results of its inaugural ‘Bank of The Year Awards, Emerging Europe and Eurasia’.
The 2023 EBM’s ‘Bank of The Year Awards, Emerging Europe and Eurasia’ aim
to create a benchmark of financial excellence in the region of emerging Europe and Eurasia. The prestigious award seeks to recognize the best-performing and fastest-growing players in each market of the region and increase the visibility of outstanding financial institutions.
The banks participating in the 2023 awards have been evaluated by the editorial board of EBM in consultation with global and regional industry experts. The evaluation process is based on applications submitted by banks as well as open sources. The jury considered various criteria, including financial performance, client focus, utilization of innovative technologies, and the introduction of new products.
The awards covered banks whose primary operations are carried out in the following eligible
countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Montenegro, Macedonia, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine,
The award results are publicly available at https://europeanbusinessmagazine.com/awards.
The following are the winners of the “Bank of The Year” from each country:
Banka Kombëtare Tregtare
Overview: Established in 1925, Banka Kombëtare Tregtare (BKT) has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years, receiving global recognition in the banking world. BKT continues to offer products, services, and innovative solutions, creating value for its broad customer base through a robust service platform across its 94 branches in Albania and Kosovo. By understanding customer needs and aligning its banking services with digital transformation, BKT aims to forge closer connections with its clients, fostering deeper trust and confidence. Committed to the highest standards of excellence, BKT, the largest domestic lender by assets as of end Q2, remains dedicated to its market leadership.
Financial performance: Total assets up 8.4% in 2022, retail lending up 21%
Client focus: Network of 63 branches
Innovative technologies: New functionalities offered to retail and business customers through digital channels, BKT Smart application, E-Banking platform, BKT Smart Invest and new Super BanKomaTs.
Established in 1910, Ameriabank has demonstrated progress across all operational sectors in the preceding year. The bank showcased excellence and adeptness in navigating the complexities of the financial landscape. A regular winner of banking awards, Ameriabank maintains a robust commitment to its customers and their evolving needs, achieved through the introduction of innovative financial services. Notable strides in digitalization, financial diligence, and long-term sustainability underscore the bank’s dedication, all while adhering to prudent and forward-looking banking principle.
Financial performance: Net profit up 13% y/y in H1 2023, ROE at 25.3%
Client focus: The bank offers an individual client approach as well as the most developed ecosystem for SMEs
Innovative technologies: In H1 2023, 24% YtD growth of the number of mobile and internet banking users
ABB (Azeri International Bank)
Established in 1992 as a joint-stock bank, ABB stands as one of the prominent banks in the South Caucasus region, boasting sound assets, an extensive customer base, and an international operating portfolio. ABB is the largest domestic lender by assets and is dedicated to preserving these achievements and pursuing adaptable growth from 2023 to 2025. A frequent winner of international banking awards, the bank aims to fortify its key market positions within relevant segments, devise novel solutions to cater to modern consumer demands, ensure high customer satisfaction, set new industry standards, and contribute to the advancement of various national priorities.
Financial performance: net profit up 38.5% y/y in H1 2023
Client focus: 66 branches, 10+ sub-branches across Azerbaijan. The number of legal entities served by the bank is about 18 000, and the number of individuals served totals more than 2.2 million, out of 10.1 million people in the country; number of ABB mobile application users exceeds 1.4 million.
Innovative technologies: Corporate innovation program ABB Innovation Center, which curates the ABB’s digital and online services through startups with new technology ideas, products, solutions, or services; Multifunctional Installment card TamKart.
Established in 1989 and acquired by RBI in 2003, Priorbank holds a prominent position within the Belarusian financial sector. With a history of receiving awards as the best bank in Belarus, Priorbank’s success is attributed to its expansive growth in clientele and robust financial performance. Noteworthy for its rapid adaptability and adept management of customer interactions amidst dynamically changing circumstances, the bank strongly leverages digital channels to provide services through online technologies, effectively catering to both individual and corporate clients. This facilitates the seamless execution of nearly all banking operations directly from personal smartphones or computers. The bank underscores its steadfast commitment to offering substantial financial support to businesses, thereby playing a pivotal role in fostering their growth and prosperity.
Financial performance: Profit up 111% in 2022
Client focus: Network of 51 business outlets and more than 977,000 customers.
Innovative technologies: Prior Online mobile app, biometric technologies to confirm identity by voice
Bosnia and Herzegovina
UniCredit Bank d.d. Mostar
Established in 2008 through the merger of UniCredit Zagrebačka banka and HVB Central Profit Banka, the bank offers a full range of services, including retail and corporate banking, risk operations, and finance and operating lease activities. Its business segments encompass Retail, Corporate and Investment Banking, Assets and Liabilities Management, and Central Unit, catering to Entrepreneurs, Corporate clients, and Financial Institutions. The bank, which is the leading lender in Bosnia and Herzegovina according to majority of performance indicators, holds a prominent position as the leading trade finance institution in Bosnia and Herzegovina and stands out in categories of corporate social responsibility and digital solutions within the Bosnian and Herzegovinian market.
Financial performance: 2022 net profit up 27.7%
Client focus: A network of 70 branches across Bosnia and Herzegovina
Innovative technologies: ‘Smart Banking’ app, provided by its parental bank UniCredit; Internet banking service (e-ba)
Originally founded as Tbilisi Business Centre in 1992 and later listed in London in 2014, TBC Bank shows a strong dedication to providing top-tier financial services in Georgia, all while consistently delivering robust profitability. Renowned for its adaptive approach to current trends in the global banking arena, the LSE-listed bank plays a significant role in the trade finance sector. Its noteworthy partnerships with international networks further emphasize its prominent position.
Financial performance: RoE up to 28.1% as of end H1 2023 vs 25.7% a year earlier, backed by solid capital
Client focus: Digital monthly active users of more than 7 mln (combined with operations in Uzbekistan)
Innovative technologies: Instant loan services, largest digital ecosystem in Georgia
Founded in 2002 through the establishment of Kaspiyskiy bank and later rebranded as Kaspi in 2008, the bank has become a prominent player in Kazakhstan’s financial scene. Its offerings span banking, trading, wire transfers, and online shopping. Following a successful IPO in 2020, the LSE-listed bank has demonstrated robust financial performance and rapid FinTech expansion. With a keen emphasis on innovating products and services for its expanding clientele, the bank stands out for operating an extensive payments, marketplace, and FinTech ecosystem in Kazakhstan, playing a transformative role in transactions, shopping, and personal finance management.
Financial performance: 51% y/y revenues growth in Q2, 2023
Client focus: 13.2 mln daily users of Kaspi Super App (Kazakhstan population 19 mln people)
Innovative technologies: Payments, Marketplace and Fintech Ecosystem for daily consumer needs, online and offline; Super App that allows to manage all kinds of personal finances, allowing customers to shop online and in-store, make and receive payments.
Established in 1992, Optima Bank demonstrates a solid commitment to staying updated, monitoring innovations in the banking sector, and enhancing service quality for its clients. Consistently recognized as a recipient of best bank awards through public surveys and professional evaluations, Optima Bank stands as a resilient and stable financial institution. It is characterized by a robust balance structure, a diversified credit and deposit portfolio, and comprehensive geographic coverage that spans across Kyrgyzstan.
Financial performance: ROE +111% y/y in Q2 2023
Client focus: Over 60 branches across Kyrgyzstan
Innovative technologies: Optima24 mobile app, Private Banking service
Maib (Moldova Agroindbank)
Overview: Founded in 1991, the bank has evolved into the country’s largest commercial bank, reigning supreme in total assets and aggregate equity. Renowned among financial experts for its adept management and impressive profitability, the bank consistently exhibits strong financial performance. It remains dedicated to elevating customer experiences and fostering digital innovation. Market surveys underscore that customers opt for MAIB due to its transparency and reliability. Beyond banking services, MAIB actively participates in Moldova’s social initiatives.
Financial performance: ROE up 19% y/y in H1 2023
Client focus: Maibank mobile app allows online services including peer-to-peer transfers, international money transfers
Innovative Technologies: Online marketplaces for houses (CasaHub), cars (DriveHub) and agricultural goods (AgricolaHub)
Overview: Established in 1997, Crnogorska Komercijalna Banka (CKB), a member of the OTP group, holds a prominent position as a leading bank in the country. It boasts the largest loan and deposit portfolio, along with the highest number of clients. The bank offers steady growth potential and a comprehensive range of meticulously tailored services catering to individuals, corporations, and the state. Its commitment to nurturing long-term client relationships and dedication to innovation further underscore its competitive edge. The bank has received prestigious banking awards and consistently operates as a highly liquid and reliable institution.
Financial performance: Net profit doubled y/y in H1 2023
Client focus: CKB Go mobile banking service
Innovative Technologies: CKB provides access to stocks trading on regional and global exchanges
Overview: Established in 1944 as the country’s inaugural bank, Stopanska Banka AD – Skopje possesses the longest-standing tradition in the Macedonian market. Recognized as a pioneering financial institution, Stopanska has played a pivotal role in shaping banking operations and continues to spearhead the development and implementation of cutting-edge financial products and services tailored for individuals and legal entities in North Macedonia. With a customer base exceeding 1 million individuals and encompassing over 50 percent of local companies, the bank has firmly established its position as the premier performer, showcasing remarkable results across all operational facets. Stopanska Banka maintains a robust capital and liquidity position, securing its competitive advantage through strategic investments in digital banking advancements.
Financial performance: Strong capital adequacy ratio of 16.6% in 2022
Client focus: Expanding digital banking under i-bank brand to legal entities
Innovative Technologies: TOPSI Pay service to transfer money to friends form contact list
Overview: Established in 2006, Tinkoff Bank has redefined Russia’s banking landscape. Following a successful IPO in London in 2013, it has risen to become the world’s largest online bank in terms of both customer count and market share. Acknowledged as a systemically important credit institution by the central bank due to its market-defying growth and substantial client base, Tinkoff Bank is renowned for its robust financial performance and consistent victories in the realm of banking awards. The bank’s resilience is bolstered by its ambitious AI Banking strategy, along with its initiative to support startups and technology projects by serving as a strategic investor or partner to promising new ventures.
Financial performance: Strong ROE of 35.5% in H1 2023
Client focus: Monthly active users (MAU) at Tinkoff, a fully branchless bank, has recently surpassed 25 million. The overall number of clients stands at 36 million people
Innovative Technologies: Tinkoff Pay contactless payment service to replace Google Pay, which stopped working in Russia
Banca Intesa Beograd
Overview: The bank’s origins trace back to 1991 when it emerged as one of the earliest private banks in Serbia. By 2005, it had seamlessly integrated into the Intesa Sanpaolo group. Currently, the bank occupies a prominent position in the Serbian market, distinguished by its noteworthy key performance indicators. Its core focus lies in delivering contemporary, high-quality financial products and services to its clients. This dedication is reinforced by a robust business network and advanced digital offerings. The bank places a central emphasis on digitalization within its strategic approach, accompanied by a dedicated commitment to ESG principles. This is evident in its efforts to maintain a harmonious balance between societal, economic, and environmental aspects, underlining its steadfast dedication to advancing sustainable initiatives.
Financial performance: Capital adequacy ratio of 19.5% in 2022
Client focus: Banka Intesa Beograd increased online sales by allowing customers to apply for cash loans through the Digical application, it is also working on implementing e-signature
Innovative Technologies: S-Loans, a sustainable lending product that allows borrower to get a discount upon achieving specific goals in the ESG transition
Overview: Founded in 1993, Eskhata Bank stands as a significant player in Tajikistan’s financial realm, proudly showcasing robust international credit ratings. These favorable ratings not only foster the bank’s partner network expansion, attracting new investments and global recognition, but they also play a pivotal role in securing Eskhata Bank’s operations. As one of the most efficient and swiftly evolving financial institutions in Tajikistan, Eskhata Bank provides a comprehensive range of services to a diverse clientele, including private individuals, businesses, and corporations. The bank’s leadership extends across investment banking, trade finance, and asset management domains.
Financial performance: Net profit tripled in 2022
Client focus: Convenient Internet banking that offers money transfer, FX conversion and payments for different services
Innovative Technologies: Eskhata Business service for small businesses that allows to manage accounts without visiting the bank’s office
Overview: Established in 1923 as the first savings bank, Halkbank has a widespread network of branches spanning across Turkmenistan, offering a comprehensive array of services. With a primary emphasis on fostering small and medium-sized entrepreneurship, the bank safeguards depositor interests, ensures entrusted fund security, and delivers convenient banking services to citizens and foreign clients alike. As a contributor to Turkmenistan’s economic and social progress, Halkbank also pursues international integration while aiming to broaden its client base, introduce sophisticated financial products, and elevate operational technologies.
Financial performance: Halkbank is working on its IFRS report to be audited
Client focus: The bank offers mobile banking services, including money transfer, payments for utility bills and education
Innovative Technologies: As ecommerce is yet emerging in Turkmenistan, Halkbank is offering payment solutions to enable businesses sell online
Overview: Established in 1992, Privatbank holds the title of Ukraine’s largest bank, dominating across all key financial indicators in the industry. Leading in terms of clients, assets, and loan portfolio, the bank maintains robust foreign currency liquidity aligned with its needs. This stability is fortified by a diversified regulatory capital and exchange controls, effectively mitigating potential risks of deposit and capital outflows. These measures contribute to upholding stability and fostering confidence within the banking system.
Financial performance: Net income rose almost fivefold in H1 2023
Client focus: Mobile banking service Privat24 exceeded 13 million active clients. It enables transfer funds, pay for any services and buy transportation tickets
Innovative Technologies: PrivatBank offers acquiring services, including paying with face and payment in social networks
Sanoat Qurilish Bank
Overview: Established in 1922, Sanoat Qurilish Bank (SQB) plays an active role in the Uzbekistan’s various economic structural shifts. It oversees significant investment efforts aimed at modernizing the economy, enhancing technology, and facilitating corporate and retail financial activities, with a specific focus on supporting small and medium-sized enterprises. The bank’s history includes recognition for being the top local bank and its adherence to ESG criteria. Often seen as reflective of Uzbekistan’s trajectory under President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s comprehensive reforms initiated after his 2016 presidential election, the bank’s performance holds significance.
Financial performance: Total assets grew 13% in 2022
Client focus: SQB lures SMEs by offering online service SQB Business, which included online accounting, settlements and different kinds of payments
Innovative Technologies: Green consumer loans to buy solar panels for private homes