Patrick Gelin's swan song

Publish date: 18-12-2009
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Patrick Gelin leaves BRD-Societe Generale, the second-largest lender on the local market, after nine years in which the institution's profit rose ninefold, and the territorial network expanded to 1,000 units from 170.

The balance of these years is "entirely positive," BRD's Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer said. As of 1 January 2010, Guy Poupet, Gelin's successor, will inherit an excellent position on the Romanian banking market and a good financial result, considering the latest profit announced by the bank, at the end of September, worth €156 million, and a portfolio whose "risk cost [is] lower than that of competitors."

When asked about the evolution of the local banking system, Gelin said that the 130 percent growth rate registered in August 2008 by foreign-denominated loans for households will not be reached again. "We started at a very low level of banking business.

Obviously, when you start at a very low level, the increase is impressive. I do not see a spectacular rise in mortgages in the future, because most Romanians are home owners and the new construction market is limited." The official added that an increase will be registered on this segment, but it will take time before new homes are finalized, and new infrastructure is ready. Gelin also said that it would be better for Romania to join the euro zone with a leu weaker than its current value, in terms of exports and competitiveness.

What were the best and worst years for the local banking system and for BRD? "Good years often hide bad years. We must also be cautious about good years. Mistakes are made in good years. And this is what happened in the banking system. If we look at the numbers, we see that 2005, 2006, and 2007 were very good years for the entire banking system. Mistakes were made in this period. Fortunately for BRD, we have not had bad years and even 2009 will be a fair and satisfactory year," added Gelin.

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