Hungary’s OTP Bank acquired a majority stake in Ipoteka Bank, Uzbekistan’s fifth largest bank, according to a statement from the bank. The logo of the bank has also changed.

Today, the first step of the acquisition was completed: OTP Bank purchased 73.71% of the shares held by the Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the remaining 26.59% will be purchased in three years from now. The Hungarian investor also became an indirect shareholder of its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Ipoteka Leasing engaged in financial leasing and Imkon-Sugurta offering insurance service.

Transaction (associated with the transfer of ownership) does not require customers of “Ipoteka Bank” to do anything in connection with the ownership transfer, and they will be informed in due course on the changes connected to the alignment process, the bank said.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has agreed to continue providing ongoing financing and transformation support to Ipoteka Bank in cooperation with OTP Bank.

Chairman and CEO of OTP Bank Sándor Csányi said that Uzbekistan was the first country the company entered in the Central Asian region, therefore, they rely vastly on the successful strategy that led to a market-leading mortgage lending business and outstanding high-quality customer service.

The Ipoteka Bank privatization agreement was signed in December 2022. Under the agreement, Hungary’s OTP Bank will acquire 100% of Ipoteka Bank’s shares owned by the Ministry of Finance of Uzbekistan (almost 97% of the total stake) in two stages: 75% of the shares immediately and the remaining 25% three years after the financial close of the first deal, which is expected to occur in two weeks.

In late March, at a meeting with the President, it became known that the state share in Ipoteka Bank sold for $324 million.

OTP Bank Deputy CEO Laszlo Wolf said in May that OTP Bank plans to develop a hybrid model with branch banking and digital banking, adopting “the best of both sales channels.” “We have plans to improve service levels in branches, reduce waiting times, increase customer satisfaction, improve services for corporate clients, cash management, rates, and financial terms,” he said.

Ipoteka Bank has a 7.6% market share in terms of assets, holds therefore the position of the fifth largest bank of Uzbekistan. In addition to having a substantial corporate clientele, the number of its retail clients reaches 1.5 million, and it operates through 39 branches as regional centres as well as more than 200 customer service points. The assets of the bank grew over the past three years at an annual rate of 20% on average in the loan portfolio and 24% in the deposit portfolio, while the bank’s profit after tax has also improved continuously in recent years.

OTP Group is one of the leading banking groups in the Central and Eastern European region. With more than 41,000 employees in now 12 countries of the CEE and Central Asian region, the Group provides universal financial services to more than 17.5 million customers. As the most active consolidator in the banking sector of the Central and Eastern European region, the Group has successfully acquired and integrated 23 banks since the early 2000s. Currently, the Bank is a market leader in Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, and in Slovenia. OTP Group is headquartered in Hungary and has a diversified and transparent ownership structure. The Banking Group has been listed on the Budapest Stock Exchange since 1995.