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2013 EBRD Annual Meeting

2013 EBRD Annual Meeting

As in the last few years, UniCredit was one of major sponsors of the 2013 EBRD Annual Meeting (Istanbul, May 10th & 11th), attended by more than 1,000 participants, among which ministers and governors of the CEE Region.

The Group was deeply engaged in the event agenda, as it opened up the event with a press conference - "CEE Region: rediscover the way to go" - involving nearly 60 journalists from CEE and Western countries. Main speakers were Gianni Franco Papa - Head of CEE Division - and Aurelio Maccario - Head of Group Strategic Planning -, who shared the key findings of a recent analysis on corporate lending in CEE conducted by UniCredit CEE Strategic Analysis.

In the coming years, economic growth in CEE should outperform the core Western European countries, provided that the right conditions are in place. This revived growth is likely to be driven by investment rather than consumption, as outdated infrastructure needs to be modernised and advanced technologies have to be introduced.

"In spite of the EMU crisis, the long-term potential of Central and Eastern Europe is intact. The 'economic convergence' story continues to hold, being supported by the necessary improvement of regional infrastructure and the institutional environment," said Gianni Franco Papa.

Lending activity is to accelerate in line with economic growth: "Over the first three months of 2013, the willingness to lend and credit standards continued to improve in most segments, responding to demand dynamics" reported Aurelio Maccario.

Banks face the challenge of adequately addressing evolving customer needs, as the CEE Region remains largely dependent on bank financing. Some specific segments such as SME financing, trade finance and tailored consumer loans call for immediate action: "We, as UniCredit, are ready to meet our customers´ needs and support them in their business objectives," noted Gianni Franco Papa.

The topic of lending in CEE was also the focus of the UniCredit sponsored session - "CEE Lending Growth: Does Supply Meet Demand?" - moderated by Aurelio Maccario, with Gianfranco Bisagni - Head of CEE CIB - as one of the speakers.

During the discussion, Mr Bisagni provided an overview of the lending scenario in the CEE, highlighting the positive signals coming from the Region and commenting the willingness of banks to extend the credit availability to corporates and SMEs. At the same time, he stressed the importance of asset quality and the partnership with IFIs in order to support a sustainable growth. He concluded: "Banks are ready - with UniCredit as one of the readiest - to support companies, but their approach has to change, as they truly have to serve the customers by advising them correctly in the most sustainable projects".  

UniCredit also hosted an evening reception - organized by International Institutional Relations in collaboration with Yapi Kredi - that included a concert by opera singers of Arena di Verona, who delighted the public with the most popular Italian arias.