Includes special features of this country’s banking system and rules/laws that might impact U.S. business.
Last Published: 6/27/2019

The banking sector is regulated by Law 9662, “On Banks in the Republic of Albania.” The law defines guidelines to ensure sound management and administrative procedures for domestic and foreign banks. The banking sector is fully private and includes 14 operational banks, down from 16 in 2018. The Turkish National Commercial Bank commands a 31% market share, trailed by Austria-based Raiffeisen Bank with 16%, and local bank Credins with 14%. The market share of Greek banks decreased to 5.6% at the end of 2018, down from more than 15% in recent years. The American Bank of Investments (ABI Bank), owned by New York-based NCH Capital Group, is the only U.S. private capital firm in Albania’s bank sector. ABI Bank aquired the National Bank of Greece in early 2018. Hungary’s OTP Bank Group, one of the largest independent financial service providers in central and eastern Europe, completed the purchase of Societe General Albania in 2019, and has expressed plans to expand further in Albania.

The banking sector remains well capitalized, profitable, and liquid. In 2018, profits reached around $82 million, with 17.9 capital adequacy ratio, 1.2% return on assets, and 13% return on equities. At the end of 2018, total bank sector assets reached $12.7 billion, mostly bank deposits.

As of March 2019, the number of bank outlets nationwide decreased to 425 compared with 474 at the end of 2018, due largely to mergers and acquisitions. Non-performing loans continued to fall in 2018, reaching 11.1% in December 2018 compared with 13.2% in 2017. The stock of outstanding loans, particularly to the private sector, contracted due chiefly to the appreciation of the domestic currency. However, capital adequacy, at 17.9%, remains above Basel requirements.

The regulatory framework aligns with international practice. The Bank of Albania (BOA) has tightened supervision rules over banks because of the global financial crisis and the risks of contagion posed by regional banks.

There are 31 non-banking financial institutions and 14 savings and loan associations in Albania. These institutions target medium-sized businesses that are not primarily served by the commercial banking sector. They offer loans from USD 1,000 to USD 500,000. A detailed list can be found here.

 

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Albania Market Access Banks