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Herbert Stepic Receives «European Banker of the Year 2006» Award.

The Raiffeisen Manager''s Pioneer Spirit Convinced"The Group of 20+1"

At a gala event held in Frankfurt yesterday evening,"The Group of 20+1"awarded the prize"European Banker of the Year 2006" to Herbert Stepic,Chairman of the Managing Board of Raiffeisen International Bank-HoldingAG and Deputy Chairman of the Managing Board of Raiffeisen ZentralbankOsterreich AG (RZB).

The decisive argument for the decision that was already taken in Marchwas the pioneer work that Herbert Stepic performed in recent decades inCentral and Eastern Europe, as well as the outstanding position in theregion and the dynamic development of Raiffeisen International since itsIPO in 2005.

With its vote"The Group of 20+1", which is an association of leadinginternational economic and financial journalists at the seat of theEuropean Central Bank in Frankfurt/Main, for the first time awarded thedistinction to an Austrian banker. In previous years, the prize"European Banker of the Year"– which has been awarded since 1994 – was also bestowed on well-known international personalities such as, for example, Rijkman Groenink (ABN Amro), Fred Goodwin (Royal Bank of Scotland), or Peter Wuffli (UBS AG).

At the gala dinner, which was attended by Petra Roth, the mayor ofFrankfurt, as well as by high-level representatives of Germany''s andAustria''s business community, Wolfgang Kirsch, Chairman of the Board ofDZ Bank, paid tribute to Stepic''s pioneer spirit:"It was HerbertStepic''s unique accomplishment that he clearly realized the historicopportunity that arose when the Iron Curtain came down. And, like noother person, he seized the opportunity with determination andconsistency. It is his achievement that has made RZB and RaiffeisenInternational truly European banks."

Herbert Stepic is regarded as"the pioneer and expert on Central andEastern Europe". 20 years ago– three years before the fall of the Iron Curtain – the first Raiffeisen Bank opened for business in Hungary. In pursuing his vision, Herbert Stepic built up a unique network of banks for RZB and Raiffeisen International. Today, he manages banks and leasing companiesin 16 markets of the region, with more than 2,950 business outlets and more than 55,000 employees."This award is atremendous motivation for all of us to continue working towards ourgoal, namely to become the leading banking group in Central and EasternEurope," is Stepic''s outlook on the future.

In Stepic''s view, the region continues to offer a major potential forgrowth which is driven by a natural catch-up process."Bankingpenetration is one parameter that corroborates this process. It is theratio between the aggregated balance-sheet total of all banks and acountry''s GDP. In the euro zone, this value amounts to 236 per cent. InCentral Europe it is 85 per cent, in Southeastern Europe about 74 percent, and in the CIS 53 per cent. In the case of the CIS, for example,the value was only 32 per cent in 2000. Bank assets in Eastern Europetotaled 1,090 billion euros in 2006, which is slightly less than thebalance-sheet total of Deutsche Bank, i.e. 1,128 billion euros”, explained the Raiffeisen manager.

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On the picture: Wolfgang Kirsch (Chairman of the Board of DZ Bank),Petra Roth (mayor of Frankfurt) und Herbert Stepic.


The jury of„The Group of 20 + 1“:

Ralph Atkins, Financial Times; Dieter Balkhausen, ZDF Business Editor;Folker Dries, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung; Jorg Eigendorf, Die Welt;Helga Einecke, Soddeutsche Zeitung; Dr. Vincent de F?ligonde, Les Echos;Dr. Marika de Feo, Corriere della Sera; Margaretha Hamm, Banken +Partner; Ulla Herrmann, ARD; Hans Kurt Hutter,"Finanzplatz"-Report /DowJones-vwd; Hermann-Josef Knipper, Handelsblatt; Klaus Dieter Oehler,Stuttgarter Zeitung; Albrecht F. Schirmacher, Der Platow Brief; AndreasG. Scholz, Bloomberg; David Shirreff, The Economist; Rita Syre, ManagerMagazin Online; Edward Taylor, The Wall Street Journal Europe; Robertvon Heusinger, Die Zeit; Christoph Wehnelt, Finanzplatz-Frankfurt.EU;Dr. Frank-Bernhard Werner, FINANZEN; Dr. Nader Maleki, Maleki Group.

Raiffeisen International operates one of the largest banking networks inCEE. 18 markets of Europe''s growth region are covered by subsidiarybanks, finance leasing companies, two representative offices and anumber of other financial service providers. About 12.7 millioncustomers are attended to through more than 2,950 business outlets.Raiffeisen International is a fully consolidated subsidiary ofRaiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG (RZB), which owns 70 per cent ofthe common stock. The remaining 30 per cent is free float, the sharesare traded on the Vienna Stock Exchange. RZB is a leading corporate andinvestment bank in Austria and the central institution of the AustrianRaiffeisen Banking Group, the country''s largest banking group.

For further information please contact Michael Palzer (+43-676 47 90027, or Lars D. Hofer (+43-1-71 707-1930,,


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