The second meeting of the Albania Financial Forum was held in Tirana today, hosted by the Governor of the Bank of Albania Adrian Fullani and co-organized by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It brought together the main banking groups operating in Albania and their subsidiaries with the participation of Finance Minister Shkelqim Cani, Economy Minister Arben Ahmetaj, as well as representatives of the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Banking Authority, and the European Central Bank.
Discussions focused on prospects for the Albanian economy and financial system, particularly in the context of the new economic and structural reforms initiated by the government recently, and supported by the new program with the IMF.
Other themes, like local bank strategies, the role of Albanian subsidiaries in the operations of the banking groups, and the implications of broader European banking initiatives were also debated. There was a frank discussion of the challenges that the participants face in their activity, with a focus on how the regulatory framework and banks’ business strategies can help improve efficiency of banking operations in Albania while ensuring financial stability, and what international organizations can do to support this process.
Discussions also focused on improving financial intermediation in Albania, focusing on the issues of non-performing loans, financial and capital market development, and the role of international and regional initiatives in promoting progress in this area. Participants discussed factors behind the contraction in credit in Albania and measures that could be taken to boost lending to the private sector. Participants welcomed the structural reforms initiated recently to improve the investment climate and agreed that the access to credit for small and medium enterprises in Albania was an area of potential future growth.
Participants all expressed their commitment to engagement in Albania and agreed that the meeting had provided a very useful opportunity for a frank exchange of views and the identification of issues to be followed up.
The first meeting was held on April 8, 2013. It is organized under the auspices of the second Vienna Initiative, which brings together the major international bank groups operating in Central, Eastern and South East Europe, their local subsidiaries, the home and host regulators and international organizations to discuss and resolve matters of common interest. (www.vienna-initiative.com)