The financial crisis triggered by the fall of Lehman Brothers in 2008 did not affect the Czech Republic directly. The banking system remained stable throughout the crisis and required no financial support from the government or the Czech Central Bank, unlike in many other countries. Just as before the financial crisis, the strengths of the Czech banking sector are good balance sheet liquidity, sufficient capital adequacy, high profitability, independence from external financing and a very low share of foreign currency loans, which protects domestic borrowers against foreign exchange risk. The last two characteristics in particular give the Czech banking system an advantage not only over Central European countries, but also over the EU as a whole.
Source: Czech National Bank, December 2010
The Czech Republic`s accession to the EU had no immediate impact on Czech banks, as their integration into the European financial system had already been underway for several years, particularly after the privatization of large banks was completed. The ownership structure of the banking sector has been stable for several years, with foreign shareholders controlling almost the entire banking sector (there were 36 banks and foreign bank branches operating in the Czech Republic at the end of 2013).
Large banks (balance sum above CZK 100 billion)
- Česká spořitelna, a.s.
- Československá obchodní banka, a.s.
- Komerční banka, a.s.
Branches of foreign banks
- Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ
- Bank Guttman
- Citibank Europe plc
- Deutsche Bank
- Equa bank a.s.
- mBank S.A.
- MEINL Bank Sberbank CZ, a.s.
- Saxo Bank A/S
- Western Union International Bank GmbH
- ZUNO BANK AG
Medium–sized banks (balance sum from CZK 15 to 100 billion)
- Banco Popolare Czech Republic
- Ceska exportni banka
- Ceskomoravska zarucni a rozvojova banka
- Evropsko-ruská banka, a.s.
- Fio banka, a.s.
- Fortis Bank
- GE Money Bank
- HSBC Bank
- Hypotecni banka
- ING Bank
- J&T; BANKA, a. s.
- LBBW Bank CZ a.s.
- Poštová banka, a.s.
- PPF banka a. s.
- Privat Bank
- Raiffeisenbank im Stifland
- The Royal Bank of Scotland N.V.
- UniCredit Bank Czech Republic, a.s.
- Volksbank CZ
- Vseobecna uverova banka
- Waldviertler Sp
- Wüstenrot hypoteční banka a. s.
Strong competition a convertible currency and the presence of international players ensure that the sector basically resembles a standard western banking system.Internet banking, already offered by most of the banks, has huge potential in the country and is expanding rapidly. A list of banks operating in the Czech Republic is available on the websites of the Czech Banking Association and the Czech National Bank.
The Czech Banking Association is a voluntary organisation of institutions doing business in finance and closely related areas. Full membership is defined for banks. Associate membership is basically set for representative offices of foreign banks. Czech Banking Association associates currently 33 banks and branches of foreign banks with full membership status, forming 99 per cent of the banking sector. The main CBA´s activities consist of involvement in the preparation of laws and other regulatory measures (in the sphere of banking regulation, payment transfer, capital market and securities, mortgage banking, accounting and tax matters, internal audit), cooperation in prevention of bank and financial crime and in the fight against legalization of proceeds from criminal activities, organizing of seminars, upgrading of working contacts with regulatory authorities and with other participants of the financial market, issuance of standards of recommendatory character (dealing mostly with the banking and security issues). With the accession of the Czech Republic to the European Union the involvement of the CBA in the European Banking Federation and the associating banking communities of EU members expands.
The Czech Export Bank (CEB) is a part of the state´s pro–export policy system. It is a specialized banking institution the ownership of which is split between the state (69.7 %) and the state-owned Export Guarantee and Insurance Corporation (EGAP). Pursuant to the Act No. 58/1995 Coll., on state-supported export insurance and financing and the amendment to the Act No. 166/1993 Coll., on the Supreme Audit Office, as amended („Act No. 58/1995 Coll.“), CEB is entrusted with the provision of state-supported financing. The Act defines state-supported financing as short-term and long-term financing and the provision of export credits, financing of production for export, investment credits, project financing credits and the provision of export-related financial services.
The financial services sector also boasts a strong and stable insurance market. There are around 53 insurance companies operating in the Czech Republic. Most of the largest insurance companies are controlled by foreign insurers: Ceska pojistovna (CZI Holdings N.V. the Netherlands), Kooperativa pojistovna
(Wiener Städtische Allgemeine Versicherung, Austria), Allianz pojistovna (Allianz, Germany), CSOB Pojistovna (KBC Bank N.V., Belgium) and ING Nationale-Nederlanden (the Netherlands). All corporate insurance products are provided and competition is strong. Insurance providers in the Czech Republic are members of and represented by the Czech Insurance Association.
The Prague Stock Exchange came into being in the Czech Republic in accordance with the provisions of the Stock Exchange Act in 1992. Its organization is similar to Western European stock exchanges, and trading is organized through appointed members of the Stock Exchange. The Czech Securities Commission was established in 1998 to regulate the capital market. Through its supervision and relicensing of brokers the SEC has played a major role in strengthening confidence in the market.
Auditing and accounting firms
The services offered by auditing and accounting firms in the Czech Republic are fully comparable with western standards. All members of the Big Four audit firms are present on the Czech market. In addition, several other international auditing firms are present, along with dozens of independent Czech auditing and accounting specialists. The Chamber of Auditors trains and certifies Czech auditors and the Chamber of Certified Accountants provides similar services for accountants. All of the country’s tax advisors are associated in the Chamber of Tax Advisers.
A variety of law firms are present in the Czech Republic providing top-quality, comprehensive legal services in all commercial areas. They can be divided into two main groups: those belonging to or affiliated with international law firms, and local Czech law firms. More information on law firms in the Czech Republic, including a search engine to find a law firm meeting particular criteria, is available in several languages on the website of the Czech Bar Association.
Venture capital & Business Angles
The Czech Private Equity and Venture Capital Association has 42 members. Complete information on the association and on testing centers can be found on its website. The opportunity to cooperate with local companies, and support their start-up and fast development of selected companies is one of the key elements of this project.
Leasing / financing
Liberal government policies and the absence of restrictions on foreign capital have resulted in a rapid growth and strong competition in the leasing sector. The Czech Leasing and Financial Association members are responsible for most of the leasing transactions in the Czech Republic.
Czech testing centers are accredited by the Association of Czech Testing Centers and Laboratories. Complete information on the association and on testing centers can be found on its website.
Logistics and freight forwarding
The Czech Republic’s geographical position makes it a natural link between Western and Eastern Europe. The logistics and freight forwarding industry is highly competitive and a variety of international and domestic freight forwarding and logistics providers are present in the country. The majority of these companies are members of the Association of Forwarding and Logistics of the Czech Republic. A full list of members can be found on the association’s website.
Real estate services are readily available in all parts of the country. The Association of Real Estate Offices of the Czech Republic runs a database of real estate agents and properties.
The following document describes the situation on the Czech property market.