Hungarian savings co-ops merge into universal commercial bank

The move will create the country's fifth-largest financial institution

The owners of 11 savings co-ops in Hungary have approved their merger with Takarekbank, the new universal commercial bank of Hungary’s integrated savings co-operatives, Takarek Group has announced.

The merger will be completed before November, when Takarekbank will become the fifth largest financial institution in Hungary, with total assets of more than HUF2.3tn (£6.3bn).

Takarekbank will have 1.1 million clients and a network of branches throughout the country. According to an earlier announcement, there will be at least one branch within a 15km radius – and in rural areas, customers will be served with buses.

Shareholders were told the merger will strengthen the integration of Hungary’s savings co-operatives, which was launched under a government initiative in 2013 to help co-ops meet stricter European Union capital adequacy requirements.

The greatest challenges of the merger will involve the upgrade and integration of IT systems and the streamlining and alignment of product lines.

The move is supported by the government, which wants to see 50% domestic ownership in the sector. Long-term plans involve creating a huge commercial bank that could be a challenger to OTP Bank, one of the largest lenders in the region.

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