BCR intends to open this year 35 branches, against 50 units initially announced, because of the modification of the potential of the market, Martin Skopek, vice president retail and private banking, declared yesterday, Mediafax informs. Skopek pointed out that there were several discussions over the opportunity to continue the expansion of the territorial network in 2009, and it was decided to continue the expansion. “Initially, we announced that we would open 50 branches this year, thus that we shall expand our territorial network to almost 700 units. However, we have to be more selective about the locations, because of the modification of the potential of the market, and thus this process will be delayed,” BCR vice president said. As for the number of employees, Skopek does not anticipate fundamental changes this year. He stressed that BCR, without branches, has now around 8,700 employees. BCR continues to expand its network of units in 2009, opening six new branches in the first quarter, and arriving at a total of 647 units. Erste Bank assumed in 2006 61.88 per cent of BCR shares, for EUR 3.75 bln, from the Romanian state, EBRD and the International Finance Corporation. The Austrian group increased subsequently its participation to 69.3 per cent. A share of 30.11 per cent is owned by the five financial investment societies (SIF).