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07.04.04

RZB Group is «Best Bank in Eastern Europe and CentralAsia»

Vienna/New York, 22 March 2004

Global Finance named the"World''sBest Emerging Markets Banks for 2004". RZB Group wins alsocountry awards for Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegowina,Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia.

Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG (RZB)and its 15Network Banks in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) were selected aswinners of the"Best Bank in Eastern Europe and CentralAsia" award. RZB''s network banksBanka eKursimeve (Albania),Priorbank(Belarus),Raiffeisen Bank d.d. (Bosnia and Hercegovina),Raiffeisen Bank S.A.(Romania),Raiffeisenbanka.d. (Serbia and Montenegro) andTatra banka a.s.(Slovakia) won the"Best bank" awards for theirrespective countries.Global Financemagazine will namethe"World''s Best Emerging Markets Banks for 2004" inits forthcoming May issue.



"RZB Group embraces the region like no other bank. It is alsothe interantional bank with the longest experience in CEE, havingfounded its first bank in Hungary back in 1986. We have anticipatedthe forthcoming enlargement of the European Union long before thisterm was even dreamt about. Hence we feel honoured by GlobalFinance''s confirmation of our achievements," says WalterRothensteiner, Chairman of RZB''s Managing Board.



"Raiffeisen has outperformed the market year after year bothwith respect to growth and profitability. It has also constantlystepped into new markets?- recently adding Belarus, Kosovo andAlbania to its network. Customers have been attracted by a completerange of banking services and products throughout the region,including leasing, asset management, investment banking, M&Aadvisory, brokerage, pension funds and insurances", saysHerbert Stepic, Deputy Chairman of RZB''s Managing Board andChairman ofRaiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG, thecompany bundling RZB''s subsidiaries in CEE.



The trophy for Asia went toHSBC, the winner for MiddleEast and Africa was theNational Bank of Kuwait, and theaward for Latin America went toBSCH.Criteria forchoosing the winners by a jury of Global finance editors?- withinput from industry analysts, corporate executives and bankingconsultants - were growth in assets, profitability, strategicrelationships, customer service, competitive pricing, andinnovative products.



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Global Finance magazine has more than 250,000 readers in about 160countries, including chairmen, presidents, CEOs, CFOs, treasurersand other financial officers responsible for making investments andstrategic business decisions for large global companies andfinancial institutions. Global Finance targets most of the 8,000key portfolio investors who control over 80 per cent of all assetsunder professional management.



Vienna based RZB is the central institution of the AustrianRaiffeisen Banking Group, the country''s most powerful bankinggroup. RZB also considers Central and Eastern Europe as its homemarket, where it operates via Raiffeisen International a network of15 subsidiary banks with more than 800 banking outlets, as well astwo representative offices, in 16 markets of the region (includingAlbanian Banka e Kursimeve and Albania). In September 2003,Financial Times magazine The Banker has awarded the prestigiousprize"Bank of the Year 2003" to RZB in Austria and itsnetwork banks in Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbiaand Montenegro and Slovakia.

 

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