Eastern European Banking Model

A traditional banking model in a CEEC (Central and Eastern European Country) consisted of a central bank and several purpose banks, one dealing with individuals’ savings and other banking needs, and another focusing on foreign financial activities, etc. The central bank provided most of the commercial banking needs of enterprises in addition to other functions. During the late 1980s, the CEECs modified this earlier structure by taking all the commercial banking activities of the central bank and transferring them to new commercial banks. In most countries the new banks were set up along industry lines, although in Poland a regional approach has been adopted.

On the whole, these new stale-owned commercial banks controlled the bulk of financial transactions, although a few ‘de novo banks’ were allowed in Hungary and Poland. Simply transferring existing loans from the central bank to the new state-owned commercial banks had its problems, since it involved transferring both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ assets. Moreover, each bank’s portfolio was restricted to the enterprise and industry assigned to them and they were not allowed to deal with other enterprises outside their remit.

As the central banks would always ‘bale out’ troubled state enterprises, these commercial banks cannot play the same role as commercial banks in the West. CEEC commercial banks cannot foreclose on a debt. If a firm did not wish to pay, the state-owned enterprise would, historically, receive further finance to cover its difficulties, it was a very rare occurrence for a bank to bring about the bankruptcy of a firm. In other words, state-owned enterprises were not allowed to go bankrupt, primarily because it would have affected the commercial banks, balance sheets, but more importantly, the rise in unemployment that would follow might have had high political costs.

What was needed was for commercial banks to have their balance sheets ‘cleaned up’, perhaps by the government purchasing their bad loans with long-term bonds. Adopting Western accounting procedures might also benefit the new commercial banks.

This picture of state-controlled commercial banks has begun to change during the mid to late 1990s as the CEECs began to appreciate that the move towards market-based economies required a vibrant commercial banking sector. There are still a number of issues lo be addressed in this sector, however. For example, in the Czech Republic the government has promised to privatize the banking sector beginning in 1998. Currently the banking sector suffers from a number of weaknesses. A number of the smaller hanks appear to be facing difficulties as money market competition picks up, highlighting their tinder-capitalization and the greater amount of higher-risk business in which they are involved. There have also been issues concerning banking sector regulation and the control mechanisms that are available. This has resulted in the government’s proposal for an independent securities commission to regulate capital markets.

The privatization package for the Czech Republic’s four largest banks, which currently control about 60 percent of the sector’s assets, will also allow foreign banks into a highly developed market where their influence has been marginal until now. It is anticipated that each of the four banks will be sold to a single bidder in an attempt to create a regional hub of a foreign bank’s network. One problem with all four banks is that inspection of their balance sheets may throw up problems which could reduce the size of any bid. All four banks have at least 20 percent of their loans as classified, where no interest has been paid for 30 days or more. Banks could make provisions to reduce these loans by collateral held against them, but in some cases the loans exceed the collateral. Moreover, getting an accurate picture of the value of the collateral is difficult since bankruptcy legislation is ineffective. The ability to write off these bad debts was not permitted until 1996, but even if this route is taken then this will eat into the banks’ assets, leaving them very close to the lower limit of 8 percent capital adequacy ratio. In addition, the ‘commercial’ banks have been influenced by the action of the national bank, which in early 1997 caused bond prices to fall, leading to a fall in the commercial banks’ bond portfolios. Thus the banking sector in the Czech Republic still has a long way to go.

In Hungary the privatization of the banking sector is almost complete. However, a state rescue package had to be agreed at the beginning of 1997 for the second-largest state bank, Postabank, owned indirectly by the main social security bodies and the post office, and this indicates the fragility of this sector. Outside of the difficulties experienced with Postabank, the Hungarian banking system has been transformed. The rapid move towards privatization resulted from the problems experienced by the state-owned banks, which the government bad to bail out, costing it around 7 percent of GDP. At that stage it was possible that the banking system could collapse and government funding, although saving the banks, did not solve the problems of corporate governance or moral hazard. Thus the privatization process was started in earnest. Magyar Kulkereskedelmi Bank (MKB) was sold to Bayerische Landesbank and the EBDR in 1994, Budapest Bank was bought by GE Capital and Magyar Hitel Bank was bought by ABN-AMRO. In November 1997 the state completed the last stage of the sale of the state savings bank (OTP), Hungary’s largest bank. The state, which dominated the banking system three years ago, now only retains a majority stake in two specialist banks, the Hungarian Development Bank and Eximbank.

The move towards, and success of privatization can be seen in the balance sheets of the banks, which showed an increase in post-tax profits of 45 percent in 1996. These banks are also seeing higher savings and deposits and a strong rise in demand for corporate and retail lending. In addition, the growth in competition in the banking sector has led to a narrowing of the spreads between lending and deposit rates, and the further knock-on effect of mergers and small-hank closures. Over 50 percent of Hungarian bank assets are controlled by foreign-owned banks, and this has led to Hungarian banks offering services similar to those expected in many Western European countries. Most of the foreign-owned but mainly Hungarian-managed banks were recapitalized after their acquisition and they have spent heavily on staff training and new information technology systems. From 1998, foreign banks will be free to open branches in Hungary, thus opening up the domestic banking market to full competition.

As a whole, the CEECs have come a long way since the early 1990s in dealing with their banking problems. For some countries the process of privatization still has a long way to go but others such as Hungary have moved quickly along the process of transforming their banking systems in readiness for their entry into the EU.

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The Benefits of Reupholstery

Your home becomes more comfortable with the different furniture you have. It does not only make your stay comfortable, but it also makes your place inviting and interesting. But as time goes by, your couch and sofa undergoes wear and tear. When this happens, your furniture will no longer make you comfortable and good to look at. When you think that they are already good for nothing now, then think again. Instead of throwing it or putting it in your stock room, why not consider reupholstery?

A professional upholsterer does a reupholstery. The professional takes the piece of furniture will change both the inside and outside of the furniture to bring it back to its original look or even make its quality better than before. There are several processes that may be applied depending on your furniture and severity of damage. Some of these would include webbing, re-tying springs, re-gluing joints, putting new padding and applying a new cover of your personal preference.

There are many benefits that you can enjoy with reupholstery. From your damaged and worn furniture, they can make it like a new one. And, this will not cost you as much as buying a new set of furniture. With the many benefits reupholstery, there are many homeowners who choose to use the services for several reasons. Some considers reupholstery because their furniture has sentimental value, has the perfect size for the room, has excellent quality compared with the modern furniture or is their favorite chair. Regardless of your personal reason, reupholstery is worth it. It is sure worth your time and worth your money.

Now, let us take a look on how a reupholsterer does the process of reupholstery.

– Quality frames of your furniture are usually made from quality woods like the oak, maple and alder. These hard woods are very strong that they can withstand the test of time. The more heavy they are the more strong the frame is. When the frames of your furniture are loosened, then the upholsterer can re-glue it. Aside from re-gluing it, they can also re-style the frame. They can change your flat arm into round or the other way around. They ca even make your sofa to a loveseat.

– Furniture with hand-tied springs are of excellent quality. Usually, they use coil springs for the eight-way hand-tie. Coil springs are the most flexible, long lasting and most resilient type of spring. The webbing, where the springs are fastened, is fastened to the chair’s base. Jute webbing is commonly used for its strength and quality.

– Padding is another important part of your sofa. When it wears down, the upholsterer can change it with a new padding. You can choose to have the same padding or look for another one. You can use cotton, Dacron or polyurethane foam.

– The final step that upholsterers do is the application of a new fabric. There are plenty of selection when it comes to fabrics. There are several texture, blends and fibers to choose from. A good upholsterer will recommend to you the best fabric that will make your furniture appear excellent and durable.

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Gains of Air Quality Testing In NYC

There are chances that you will want to spend most of the time indoors during the cold weather. It is for this cause that you cannot afford to stay in a house whose air quality is poor since you might have some health issues. For instance, you can get flu when you breathe air that has some dust and other contaminants. Air quality testing is not a walk in the park assignment, even if there are tons of information on how to do it available on the internet. The most informed choice is working with an indoor air quality testing firm since you can be sure that they will handle the assignment correctly. The article looks at the gains of air quality testing in NYC.

Contaminated air can be quite challenging to breathe in more so when it has some dust and mold particles in it. At times you can have some allergies when you breathe in low-quality air in your house. The air quality testing experts will ensure that the air in your home is safe for you to breathe so that you will not have any respiratory issues. It means that you can rest ascertained about your health safety when you work with the experts for indoor air quality testing.

You cannot speak about the indoor air pollutants without mentioning mold since it is a significant contributor to contamination. Mold can develop in the bathroom and cellars where it can spread to other parts of the house that have some moisture. You might start having some skin rashes, nasal stiffness, and even wheezing when you have mold in your home. Working with an air quality testing professional will help you in identifying whether you have mold in your house and how to remove it. The specialists can even advise you on how you can prevent the mold from growing again in your home.

Insects, rats, and cockroaches are some of the things that most homeowners have to deal with all the time. The droppings from these creatures can be dangerous for indoor air quality. Conducting an indoor air quality test will help you in knowing how such animals are polluting the air quality and how to deal with them. The move can guarantee you that you will not worry about have some health issues because of the creatures available in your house.

Lung cancer or any other type of cancer can be deadly more so when it is left untreated for an extended duration. Treating cancer can require a lot of money, not forgetting that the patient might have substantial stress during the process. The best thing is trying to prevent cancer so that you will not have any issues in the future. Breathing in asbestos fibers has been known to cause mesothelioma and lung cancer, which means you are at risk if your home is constructed from asbestos. The specialists will assist you in checking if your house contains asbestos and secure ways of eliminating it.

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Factors to Consider When Choosing a Preschool Center

Children are a gift from God and thus it is paramount that you take good care of them. This is in their various aspects in life for example socially, psychologically among others. Once a kid is young, it is a very delicate stage for them. The school you take them to will mold them into either a responsible citizen or a social misfit. The probability of either happening is determined by the kind of preschool you take them to. This is where they first learn how to engage with others, interact with them through various ways. It is thus very important that you choose the best preschool center to give your kid the best life. At preschool they learn how to draw and do the very basic stuff in life but important.

The decision to choose a preschool may seem to be an easy one that only considers things such as the curt, the location and how long the school day is among others. However, this is not true, it is actually an intricate decision that requires you to think of other factors which are vital as well. Below is a guideline on some tips that you can consider in order to pick the best preschool center.

The first thing is the teaching staff. These are the individuals that will be spending a lot of time with your kids and what they influence them to be is what they will become. It is thus good that you for a school that has teaching staff that are experts in children matters. They should be able to create a bond with the child since it gives them a sense of safety and security. The staff should be friendly so that the connection between the child and them can last long. With regards to teaching in in class, they should be knowledgeable on how to make the class engaging, for instance by asking questions, encouraging them to think among others. Good teachers will also allow the kids to socialize with others so that they can overcome shyness.

Another thing you should think about is the school director. This is an important individual because they set the syllabus to be taught and hence affect the kind of information your kids receives while there. If possible it is good to meet with him or her so that you get to know them more. Before choosing a preschool also consider asking about their cancelation policy in case you forego taking your kid there. For instance, what percentage is refundable to you. The safety of the school is also of importance. Evaluate and request to see the protective measures the school has for example in case of fire, are there sprinklers and fire extinguishers.

The environment of the school should also be friendly and suitable for young kids. For example, the furniture should fit the size of the kids and there should be enough space for them to play around without getting injured.

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