It’s not quite 1998, but neither is it especially pretty for anyone who bought into Credit Agricole’s commitment to Hungary.
The French bank has had a Hungarian presence since 1990 and built up its local operations, with fixed income and equity sales and trading staff and investment bankers. In 2009, Tamas Molontay, then senior country officer of Calyon in Hungary, boasted about the bank’s aptitude there, noting that: “Structured Finance is very active: export and project finance (financing and advisory), notably in power projects, are important pillars of our business. In capital markets, we are particularly performing in interest rates derivatives, foreign exchange, emissions and gas hedging.”
There’s no further explanation of the French bank’s motivation for withdrawal, although it may be related to Hungary’s economic predicament.
Other banks, such as Morgan Stanley, which operates a Mathematical Modelling Centre in Budapest, are retaining their presence in Hungary. However, Credit Agricole’s withdrawal is a reminder of the extent to which international banks can come – and just as quickly go.