Andreas Treichl, the General Manger of the Austrian Erstebank, said that, by the end of 2007, this bank plans to increase its share in the Serbian banking market from 2.5 to 4 per cent. He also stated that, in the longer run, the bank plans to control about 10 per cent of the Serbian banking market, but that the company is not sure whether this would be possible without acquiring another bank and added that there are currently no concrete plans concerning a new acquisition.

Treichel said that he believed that there would be a gradual decrease in the interest rates in the Serbian market and estimated that it is unnecessary for the central bank to maintain mandatory currency reserves at a high level.

He also pointed out that Erstebank has great plans for the development of the credit card sector in its operations in Serbia, adding that, at the beginning of January, the bank bought the Croatian credit card company Diners Club Adriatic to increase its credit card operations in the region.

Treichl Estimated that the biggest growth in the Serbian banking market will be in the mortgage loans and housing loans and added that an increase in loans to the industry is also expected, as a growing number of Serbian companies are expanding their operations in the region.

He pointed out that, for the further development of the Serbian financial market, it is necessary for citizens to have enough money to save and that the banking business for the future would be helping people save for old age.