Focus on branch expansion and consumer lending drives up customernumbers. 110,000 new customers per month on average.
Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG, the CEE arm of RaiffeisenZentralbank Osterreich AG (RZB), has surpassed the threshold of 10million customers in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). At the end ofFebruary 2006, Raiffeisen International served 10.01 million customers,of which 99 per cent are retail customers (these figures do not includeImpexbank, whose acquisition was announced at the beginning ofFebruary). This reflects an increase of 5.0 million customers or 100 percent compared to the year-end figure 2004, including 3.4 millioncustomers of Bank Aval in Ukraine, which was acquired by RaiffeisenInternational in October 2005. At year end 2005 the group counted 9.7million customers. In terms of organic growth Raiffeisen Internationalattracts 110,000 new customers on average per month. RaiffeisenInternational will present its annual results for 2005 on Thursday, 30March 2006.
“The fact that 110,000 customers in CEE turn to Raiffeisen every month is a vital sign of the trust in our Raiffeisen brand”, stated Herbert Stepic, CEO of Raiffeisen International. “Our strongly increasing customer base is a consequence of our clear focus on branch building and consumer lending”, added Aris Bogdaneris, Board Member of Raiffeisen International responsible for Retail Banking. “We aim at continuing to expand our customer base faster than the market.”
Raiffeisen International began to focus on retail banking in 1999. Atthe end of 2002, Raiffeisen International already served 1.9 millioncustomers and 3.2 million at the end of 2003. This translates into acompounded annual growth rate of customers of 72 per cent between 2002and 2005.
The retail banking markets in CEE provide long-term growth potential.Especially credits to private individuals are considered as the keygrowth engine for the banking sectors in CEE. Loans to households rangefrom 3.8 per cent to 12.4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) inCEE compared to 50.2 per cent in the Eurozone. In order to fully utilizethis growth potential a strong and wide-spread branch presence as wellas a comprehensive customer base is necessary.
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Raiffeisen International operates one of the leading banking networks inCEE with 16 subsidiary banks and many leasing companies in 16 markets.Representative offices in Lithuania and Moldavia complement the group''spresence in the region. Raiffeisen International is a fully consolidatedsubsidiary of Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG (RZB), which owns 70per cent of the common stock. The remaining 30 per cent is free float,the shares are traded on the Vienna Stock Exchange. RZB is a leadingcorporate and investment bank in Austria and the central institution ofthe Austrian Raiffeisen Banking Group, the country''s most powerfulbanking group.
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