Convinced that Romania is moving ahead economically, several leading U.S. banks are having a second look at the Eastern European nation.
Bankers said Romania's voracious need for investments, a relatively large and well-educated population, a well-developed industrial infrastructure, and significant natural resources are turning the country into an increasingly attractive market.
"We're quite optimistic about Romania," said Shahzad Shabaz, senior vice president and regional manager for BankAmerica Corp. in London. "It's clearly leading the way in the Balkans."
"We think the prospects for increasing business are rather good," said Harold Meyerman, a managing director at Chase Manhattan Corp.
The increased interest in Romania follows last year's election of Emil Constantinescu as president. A reformist, Mr. Constantinescu is moving to privatize government-owned corporations, including banks.
The conviction that Romania's economy is heating up has also sent the Bucharest stock exchange soaring fivefold in local currency terms and enabled one of Romania's biggest banks, Banca Comerciala Romana, to issue a $75 million Eurobond.…