World’s Best Private Banks 2024—Central & Eastern Europe

Private banks are competing to win a piece of an expanding market of high net worth individuals.

The Central and Eastern European region (CEE) has faced significant economic challenges in 2023, including shrinking growth rates and declining living standards. Also contributing to the economic strain were a recession in Germany; a challenging international political environment, including the ongoing war in Ukraine; monetary tightening; and fiscal crises.

These situations have added new worries for the region’s banking sector, driving a consolidation trend. CEE private banking operations nevertheless have been resilient, with assets under management steadily rising thanks to a growing clientele of high net worth (HNW) individuals.

While larger Western European banks maintain a presence in their smaller neighbors’ private banking markets, regional champions are enhancing their client services through digital innovation and artificial intelligence (AI).

Best Private Bank In Central And Eastern Europe: OTP Bank

OTP, Hungary’s former state savings bank, secures the award as regional champion for the third consecutive year. Its presence extends across 12 countries, serving nearly 18 million customers in CEE, Southeastern Europe, and Central Asia after acquiring Uzbekistan’s Ipoteka Bank late last year.

OTP Group’s 2021 merger of its two Serbian banks has made OTP Bank Serbia the second-largest bank in the country. OTP stands out for introducing digital banking to CEE, building on an innovative hybrid model that blends a contact center with investment advisory services, including video banking.

With the HNW market growing in emerging Europe, OTP is bolstering its commitment to private banking, leveraging digital innovation and AI with distinct service offerings under Prestige Private and Digital Private Banking.

Best Private Bank For Sustainable Investing: Erste Private Banking

Erste Group, Austria’s leading bank in the CEE region, caters to almost 16 million customers across seven countries. The bank emphasizes sustainability in its private banking operations and pushes its private banking clients to invest in environmentally responsible companies and projects.

Last year, Erste Group invested some €15 billion (about $16 billion) in sustainable assets and issued a record quantity of green bonds. The bank has adopted an ambitious decarbonization strategy aimed at achieving net-zero emissions and aims to play a leading role in driving the green transition across CEE. Erste Group is also known for its cutting-edge George banking app and various digital innovations.

Best Private Bank Digital Solutions For Clients: Akbank Private Banking

By providing its clients with outstanding integration between traditional branches and modern digital channels, Akbank Private Banking has consolidated itself as the Best Private Bank Digital Solutions For Clients in the CEE region in 2023.

The Turkey-based giant’s success is rooted in a sophisticated mixture of advanced banking experience, personalized service, technological efficiency, and a comprehensive range of financial solutions, ensuring top-notch services across the private banking spectrum.

Leveraging advanced technology, Akbank enhances customer experiences through efficient and continually improved digital banking. Akbank Private clients can remotely access investment products, approve contracts, and conduct transactions via digital channels, including the bank’s outstanding offering of fixed-income products like treasury bills, government bonds, and private sector bonds, along with equities and mutual funds.

Moreover, in collaboration with affiliated companies, the institution provides comprehensive services for pensions, insurance, and leasing, catering to diverse client needs through a single point of contact. 

This holistic approach underscores Akbank’s commitment to delivering unparalleled financial services and puts it at the top of its class when it comes to digital solutions and holistic integration of channels.