Bosnia-Herzegovina’s banking system may have totally collapsed, but Atlanta bankers see opportunities to participate and even profit in its rehabilitation.
A high-level delegation of 18 commercial bankers and banking officials from Bosnia-Herzegovina met here with their counterparts the week of Aug. 18-22 from SunTrust, Peachtree National Bank, The Summit National Bank, Fidelity National Bank and NationsBank as well as the local offices of the U.S. regulatory agencies.
“Their situation is more complicated than just setting up a banking structure,” Joseph K. Agostino, a vice president at the Fidelity National Bank in Peachtree City, told GlobalFax in a telephone interview last week. “They have to learn how to operate in a capitalistic environment, requiring a different mindset.”
Fidelity National limits its international activities to occasionally arranging for letters of credit and investing in foreign markets on behalf of its brokerage and trust clients, but he saw some possibility for consulting assignments.
Community banking skills, which have taken Fidelity National to $600 million in assets since it first opened in 1979, could provide a model for some of the recently established banks there, Mr. Agostino said.
H.A. “Alec” Dudley, Jr., executive vice president at Summit National, said that his bank would like to establish correspondent banking relationships in Bosnia as the demand for consumer goods is met through trade.
The delegation reviewed Fidelity National’s mortgage lending operation and Summit’s commercial loan procedures.
William Ronald Duffey, president and CEO of Peachtree National Bank, said that the delegation studied his bank’s organizational structure and loan policies, but that he did not anticipate any specific business projects coming out of the meeting.
The was tour was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and was hosted locally by the law firm of Arnall Golden & Gregory.
For more information, call Bill Loiry of Equity International at (202) 429-2024.