The Austrian Raiffeisen Banking Group (RBG) can look back over a successful financial year 2011. It not only reaffirmed, but also further extended its top position as the leading banking group. «When the first Raiffeisen bank was founded 125 years ago, it was part of its mission statement to do its utmost for its customers. We have adhered to this task and the values of our founders to the letter. They are an important cornerstone of our success — now and in the future,» says Walter Rothensteiner, speaker of the RBG and CEO of Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich AG (RZB): «In 2011, the Raiffeisen Banking Group again increased its market shares for deposits and loans, has the highest customer shares, the densest network of branches and the strongest brand amongst Austria’s banks.»
The market shares of the RBG have been growing constantly for decades, according to statistics published by the Austrian National Bank. The share of total deposits rose by 0.4 percentage points to 29.7 per cent. The volume of deposits rose by € 3.6 billion to € 86.2 billion. The market share of savings deposits grew by 0.3 percentage points to 32.4 per cent or € 51 billion. For direct loans, the RBG reached 25.7 per cent, up from 25.5 per cent in the previous year. These rose from € 79.2 billion in 2010 to € 82.2 billion in 2011.
According to Financial Market Data Service/GfK, Raiffeisen has expanded its leading position in the share of retail customers. In total, the customer share is 40 per cent, the main customer share — i.e. the share of those customers who have their main bank accounts with Raiffeisen — is 34 per cent. Amongst small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), the customer share is 52 per cent and 37 per cent respectively for key accounts.
Because deposits and issued loans increased, the balance sheet total of the RBG also rose by 5.6 per cent to € 270 billion. It is thus around € 60 billion higher than that of the second-placed Sparkassen Group. Attributable equity rose by 1.3 per cent to € 22.9 billion.
The operating profit fell by 11.2 per cent to € 3,363 million, and the profit on ordinary activities by 16.4 per cent to € 1,720 million. The main reasons for this are the significantly higher tax burden, especially as a result of banking taxes (called the «stability levy» in Austria), higher personnel costs and market-related losses in Hungary.
A total of 2,223 Raiffeisen bank outlets in Austria ensure the financial provision of Austrians at local level. Around 43 per cent of all bank branches in Austria belong to the Raiffeisen network. «The dense network of Raiffeisen bank outlets guarantees the comprehensive provision of Austria with financial products. Raiffeisen therefore fulfils a very important task for the functioning of the domestic economy and as a local provider for our customers,» says Walter Rothensteiner.
The RGB stands for economic responsibility. «We come from the heart of society and are deeply rooted in it. We bear a high degree of responsibility for the regions and society,» he added. Around 1.7 million Austrians are cooperative members of a Raiffeisen Bank. At the same time, Raiffeisen is an important sponsor of social, charitable, cultural and sporting activities in Austria and Central and Eastern Europe.
As an employer, too, the RBG plays an important role. Worldwide, it employs 81,702 staff. That is 0.4 per cent more than at the end of 2010. In Austria alone, 25,183 employees work for Raiffeisen (excluding UNIQA insurance, in so-called «full-time equivalents»).
For the eighth time in succession, Raiffeisen was announced Austria’s most trustworthy bank in a representative study performed by Reader’s Digest magazine. Raiffeisen took first place with 33 per cent, 15 percentage points ahead of the second-placed bank. The respondents assessed quality, the price/performance ratio and the understanding of customers’ needs. «Confidence and competence are the values that are in particular demand by our customers and for which Raiffeisen stands. The Raiffeisen Banking Group has operated a safe, regional and sustainable banking business for 125 years,» reaffirms Walter Rothensteiner.
According to an analysis of the European Brand Institute, the Raiffeisen brand has a value of € 2.9 billion. Raiffeisen is thus in fourth place amongst all Austrian brands and the only bank in the top brand grouping.
The volume of loans issued to private and corporate customers also recorded significant growth in 2011. The volume of loans issued to corporate customers rose by 4.8 per cent. This increase is therefore around twice the average for the banking sector of 2.7 per cent. For private customers, the volume of loans increased by 4.0 per cent, also much more than the average for the banking sector of 2.6 per cent.
Not only did the loan volume rise, but corporate bonds are also increasingly popular. «Many corporate customers are using the present low interest rate environment for corporate bonds and promissory notes,» analyses Rothensteiner the current development.
Raiffeisen is also noted for developing product innovations or introducing them on the Austrian market. One such example is CardMobile, the first contactless payment method using a mobile phone; another is MasterCard PayPass, for contactless payments with a credit card.
In the area of online banking, one innovation is providing greater security. Raiffeisen will be the first banking group to use the cardTAN generator company-wide in 2012. The device in the size of a credit card replaces the paper-based TAN list and is an alternative to mobile TAN by text message.
Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich (RZB) is the central institution of the Austrian Raiffeisen Banking Group, the country’s largest banking group, including Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI). It also acts as the steering holding for the whole RZB Group and operates as platform for the Raiffeisen Banking Group, especially within its core market Austria and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE)
Via its listed subsidiary Raiffeisen Bank International, RZB holds one of the largest banking networks in CEE. It covers 17 markets across the region through subsidiary banks, leasing companies and a range of other financial service providers. The RZB Group’s around 60,000 employees service about 13.8 million customers through around 2,900 business outlets.
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