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Savings Bank of Albania renamed Raiffeisen Bank.

Albanias dominant bank benefits from Raiffeisens strength and know-how. Roll out of new products and services.

Yesterday evening a new market leader evolved in Albania: RaiffeisenBank, the rebranded Savings Bank of Albania (Banka e Kursimeve). Thebank boasts a dominant market local share of more than 50 per cent andwas taken over by Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich AG (RZB) earlierthis year. Albanias Prime Minister Fatos Nano and Herbert Stepic, Deputy Chairman of RZB and Chairman of Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG (Raiffeisen International), officially unveiled the new logo of the bank, Raiffeisens gable cross, in a ceremony in Tirana, attended by more than 800 guests.

In the six months following the privatization, Raiffeisen has installed a new internal administration system, restructured management processes, begun upgrading the branches to a state-of-the-art banking standard, installed 25 ATMs and will introduce 25 more this year, and began training staff in modern banking products and services, said Stepic. From now on, the bank not only benefits from Raiffeisens strength and know-how. The Raiffeisen brand South Eastern Europes strongest bank brand adds a new dimension. Raiffeisens logo stands for security under a shared roof, and more so, the world-wide reach of an international banking group and the longest experience of any Western bank in the Central and Eastern European region.

Lending activities started

The bank stopped lending in its preparation for the privatizationseveral years ago. With the roll out of new products and services andintensive staff training, which will amount to about 5,000 days oftraining by the end of next year, this has changed.I am proud to say that Raiffeisen Bank has started lending in the corporate sector and will start lending to small and medium sized enterprises next week. We will also introduce project finance, infrastructure finance, and trade finance. Lending to individuals, initially through overdrafts, will begin in a few weeks, said Steven Grunerud, Raiffeisen Banks CEO.

All branches upgraded and 100 ATMs installed by the end of 2005

Raiffeisen Bank aims to upgrade all its branches and to have 100 ATMsinstalled by the end of 2005. The branch network has been reduced tocurrently 82 from roughly 200 during the last years, but the developmentplan also includes the opening of new branches. Raiffeisen Banks branch network will not only look differently, but also be more functional, in order to provide Raiffeisen banks customers the best services available at the local market.

Prime Minister welcomes Raiffeisens commitment as beneficial for Albania

The Albanian government showed that commitment and political willpower are the fundamental elements for state owned institutions to be successfully managed and to become an attractive acquisition target for successful banks such as Raiffeisen. The privatization of Savings Bank by Raiffeisen is a very important decision, said Nano. With Raiffeisen the Albanian economy will benefit from modern products and services both on the savings and lending sides. Raiffeisens commitment will help to integrate Albania and its banks into the international financial markets, said Nano.

Raiffeisen Bank Sh.a., Tirana, had a balance sheet total of 1.6 billion as on 30 June 2004. It employs a staff of about 1,000 and is the only bank in the country with a nation-wide branch network. RZB is the central institution of the Raiffeisen Banking Group, Austria''s most powerful banking group. RZB is a leading corporate and investment bank in Austria and also considers Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) as its home market, where it operates, via its subsidiary Raiffeisen International a network of 15 subsidiary banks with more than 800 banking outlets, as well as two representative offices,in 16 markets of the region. RZBs network banks are among the three largest banks in eight CEE markets.


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