The number of Central and Eastern Europeans able to save money fell throughout 2009, even though four out of five people have access to the banking system, according to a recent survey by GfK conducted in 13 countries in the region.
The penetration rate of banking products is the highest regionally in Slovenia, at 100 percent, while Romania is second to last, with a penetration rate of just 54 percent, ahead only of Bulgaria.
People in CEE countries became less able to save money during 2009. In Bulgaria, only 6 percent of the public managed to put money aside, while Lithuania and Slovakia did better, at 30 and 35 percent respectively, according to GfK. “In general, when money is available, it is spent rather than saved or invested. This is obviously a result of the financial crisis which hit most Central and Eastern Europeans in 2009,” said Alexander Zeh, team leader of the financial survey with GfK CEE Group.
In Romania, the second most popular financial service is lending, while in other CEE countries, saving products occupy the same position. Bank accounts are the most commonly used financial product across the region.