The renowned financial sector magazine «Global Finance» awarded the title «Best Bank in Central and Eastern Europe 2008» to Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG (RZB) together with its subsidiary Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG. This year's award marks the third time in a row — and the fifth time in six years — that Raiffeisen has won this distinction for its banking operations in the region. In addition to the regional award, the group’s banks in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Raiffeisen Bank d.d. Bosna i Hercegovina), Bulgaria (Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria) EAD), Czech Republic (Raiffeisenbank a.s.), Serbia (Raiffeisen banka a.d.) and Slovakia (Tatra banka a.s.) received the «Best Bank» awards for their local markets.
Raiffeisen International's renewed recognition as the leading bank in the CEE region reflects the group's strong performance in 2008, when it posted a record consolidated profit of 982 million euros, according to preliminary results released last month. Raiffeisen International managed to achieve this 17 per cent rise in its full-year profits despite doubling its provisioning for impairment losses to 780 million euros.
In selecting the winners for its esteemed awards, Global Finance editors relied on input from industry analysts, corporate executives and banking consultants. The magazine's decision criteria included growth in assets, profitability, strategic relationships, customer service, competitive pricing, and innovative products. Global Finance will publish its list of «The World’s Best Emerging Markets Banks» in its May 2009 issue.
«Global Finance's decision to recognize Raiffeisen as the best bank in Central and Eastern Europe for the third time in a row highlights that our group's leadership role in the region continues even in the face of exceptionally challenging macroeconomic conditions», Walter Rothensteiner, RZB’s CEO and Chairman of Raiffeisen International’s Supervisory Board, said.
«Raiffeisen International manages to stand out among its competitors by providing ‘bread and butter' banking services of the highest quality to corporate and retail customers in 17 CEE markets. The Global Finance awards pay tribute to our group's time-tested business strategy, with its strong focus on geographical and business diversification, as well as on effective risk management,» Herbert Stepic, CEO of Raiffeisen International and Deputy Chairman of RZB, said.
«We are in an unusually challenging environment for banks and their customers», Global Finance publisher Joseph Giarraputo said. «More than ever, customers are demanding superior competence from their banking partners. RZB and Raiffeisen International, together with their network banks, are among the banks best providing that competence.» The magazine, which is in its 22nd year of publishing and has 50,000 subscribers and more than 180,000 readers in over 158 countries, is particularly popular among portfolio investors and financial analysts.
Raiffeisen International's Network Banks in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Serbia both received Global Finance's «Best Bank» awards for the sixth consecutive time, while Tatra banka in Slovakia received this distinction for the eighth time in the bank’s history. This year's Best Bank awards marks the second time that Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria) has been recognized by Global Finance, as well as the first time that Raiffeisenbank in the Czech Republic has won the award.
Raiffeisen Bank d.d. Bosna i Hercegovina managed to increase its balance-sheet total by 12 per cent to 2.4 billion euros at the end of the third quarter 2008. Its market share of around 20 per cent ranks the bank, which has nearly 720,000 customers and 99 business outlets, as the leading bank in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria) EAD reported a balance sheet total of 4.9 billion euros at the end of the third quarter 2008, a year-on-year rise of 24 per cent. Raiffeisenbank, whose market share of 11 per cent makes it Bulgaria's fourth-largest bank, services more than 645,000 customers through its 189 business outlets.
Czech Raiffeisenbank a.s., which celebrated both its 15th anniversary and the successful conclusion of its merger with eBanka in 2008, services more than 385,000 customers through its 106 business outlets. The bank's balance-sheet total was up 25 per cent year-on-year at 7.1 billion euros at the end of the third quarter 2008.
Raiffeisen banka a.d. was the first foreign bank in Serbia after the political changes in the autumn 2000 and began operations in 2001. At the end of the third quarter 2008, the country’s second-largest bank had a balance-sheet total of 3.3 billion euros and serviced its almost 570,000 customers via a network of 94 business outlets.
Tatra banka a.s., the third-largest bank in Slovakia, increased its balance-sheet total by 17 per cent year-on-year to 9.1 billion euros at the end of the first three quarters of 2008. The bank operates 161 business outlets and services nearly 715,000 customers.
Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG (RZB) is the central institution of the Austrian Raiffeisen Banking Group, the country’s largest banking group. It is a leading corporate and investment bank in Austria and also considers Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) as its home market. RZB is the only Austrian bank with a global network of business units reaching all important finance centres around the globe. It is also present in Asia via its branches and representative offices.
Via listed subsidiary Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG, RZB operates one of the largest banking networks in CEE, covering 17 markets across the region through subsidiary banks, leasing companies and a range of other financial service providers. The group’s more than 63,000 employees service 14.6 million customers via 3,100 business outlets