Finally, A Clean Banking Slate For The Czechs?

Selling the last state-owned banks should open up the loan tap

It has taken ten years and $1.7 billion in bailouts, but the Czech government is finally selling off the last two banks it still owns. The hope is that the new owners of Ceska Sporitelna, the country's leading savings institution, and Komercni Banka, its largest commercial bank, will get down to business quickly and start lending. "The process of providing loans should improve significantly," said Jiri Stanik, an analyst at Raiffeisen Capital and Investment in Prague. And that, in turn, should accelerate the country's faltering economic recovery. But that may be wishful thinking.

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