Western European banks have been buying up their counterparts in the former Eastern Block for some years now. French investment bank SG owns Czech retail bank Komercni, which it took over in 2001. That same year Belgian finance group KBC took control of Poland’s Kredyt Bank, one of the largest retail banks in the country. KBC owns a clutch of other small retail banks throughout the region. And Poland’s second-largest retail bank, Bank Pekao, has been owned by Italian group Unicredito since 1999.