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Raiffeisen starts first building society in Romania

Joint subsidiary of RZB-network bankRaiffeisen Bank S.A., the AustrianRaiffeisenBausparkasseand GermanSchwbisch-Hall. Romaniaoffers up to 30 per cent subsidy on building societydeposits.

Raiffeisen is the first financial institution to make use of thenew legal conditions in Romania and has founded the country''sfirst building society,Raiffeisen Banca pentru Locuine S.A..The new bank has strong owners, and they will make surethat the"lift-off" will be a full success: RaiffeisenBank S.A., a subsidiary of Vienna-basedRaiffeisen Zentralbanksterreich AG (RZB-Austria), with a country-wide network ofoutlets to sell the product,Schwbisch-Hall, the buildingsociety of the GermanRaiffeisen and Volksbanken-sectorandRaiffeisenBausparkasse. The latter is marketleader in Austria and also active in the Czech Republic, Slovakiaand Croatia, where it services a total of 1.7 millioncustomers.

"The strong demand for better living conditions coupledwith the new legal environment and the economic upswing provides anideal basis for a successful start of Raiffeisen''s buildingsociety in Romania", said Herbert Stepic, Deputy Chairman ofRZBandChairman of the Managing Board ofRaiffeisenInternational Bank-Holding AG (Raiffeisen International)."Not only are we proud of being first in a market once again,but also to be able to help fulfilling many dreams of one''s ownhouse".

The Romanian state subsidizes this kind of saving in order toimprove the housing conditions prevailing in the country by addinga premium of up to 30 per cent to the savings deposited. At the endof the savings period, the customer has the right to draw a loantwice as high as the amount accumulated on his or her savingsaccount. The loan is in local currency, Romanian Lei, and at fixedinterest rates (currently 6 per cent).

With total assets of EUR 1,036 million as of 31 December 2003,Raiffeisen Bank S.A. is Romania''s third largest bank. It is auniversal bank servicing more than one million customers withapproximately 3,600 employees in 190 business outlets. Itsexcellent business development is reflected by several awards. In2003, Raiffeisen Bank received five awards for Financial Excellencein Romania. The country''s leading business magazinesPiataFinanciara,Bucharest Business WeekandCapitalawarded it the title"Bank of the Year2003". Additionally, the bank''s Chairman Steven vanGroningen was decorated with the title"Banker of the Year2003" andRaiffeisen Capital& Investmentwon the"Prize for Performance on the Capital Market". It was thefirst time on the local market that a bank received all awards,which are considered the most important in the country, in oneyear.

Raiffeisen Bank is a subsidiary of Raiffeisen International.Raiffeisen International, 100 per cent owned by RZB, is the holdingcompany for RZB''s most important subsidiaries in CEE. RZB isthe central institution of the AustrianRaiffeisen BankingGroup, the country''s most powerful banking group. RZB alsoconsiders Central and Eastern Europe as its home market and viaRaiffeisen International operates a network of 15 subsidiary bankswith more than 800 banking outlets, as well as two representativeoffices, in 16 markets of the region. In September 2003, theFinancial TimesmagazineThe Bankerhas awardedthe prestigious prize"Bank of the Year 2003" to RZB inAustria and its network banks in Albania, Belarus, Bosnia andHerzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro and Slovakia. In January 2004,the renowned US magazineGlobal Financeawarded the title"Best Trade Finance Bank in Central and Eastern Europe"to RZB and its network banks in Central and Eastern Europe.


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