Abstract

The history of the last 10 years of banking sector reform and restructuring in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is a fascinating story, because in most of these countries, what existed before the political transformation could not be called a banking sector at all. Rather it was a mechanism for redistributing funds according to the central plan or, in those countries where central planning had diminished in importance by the time of the political transformation, according to some other mechanism. In either case, there was nothing resembling true financial intermediation because there was no risk management in the system, nor were the banks themselves making responsible, independent decisions about resource allocation or to attract the savings of households and other financial actors.