- 3,000th business outlet officially opened
- Largest sales-network of any western banking group in CEE
- Comprehensive branch expansion program in place
- Branches are still the primary sales channel in CEE
- Especially strong presence in fast-growing economies of the CIS
Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG, listed subsidiary of the Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG (RZB) Group, officially opens its 3,000th business outlet in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) today. The branch is located in the Russian city of Tyumen, the capital of the Tyumen Oblast in the Urals Federal District, about 2,100 km east of Moscow. Tyumen is an important centre for the gas and oil industries in Russia and has a population of more than 500,000.
Like every regional branch of Raiffeisenbank, the Tyumensky branch will offer the full range of services to both corporate and individual clients, including the product range of all Raiffeisen affiliate companies in Russia (Raiffeisen-Leasing, Non-State Pension Fund Raiffeisen and Raiffeisen Capital Asset Management Company).
The opening of the 3,000th branch marks yet another milestone in the successful development of Raiffeisen International. It is also a symbol of the rapid pace with which the company expands its sales-network, especially considering the fact that the network only comprised 185 branches at the end of 2000. «We offer the largest sales network of all international banking groups in CEE. This distribution power provides us with a valuable competitive edge», said Herbert Stepic, CEO of Raiffeisen International.
Reflecting that distribution power, Raiffeisen International has welcomed its 13 millionth customer at the end of September. Having had its initial focus on corporate customers until 1999, the group started region-wide business with retail customers in that year and continuously expanded it to five million customers in 2004 and 12.1 million at year-end 2006. On average, 100,000 customers turn to Raiffeisen each month.
In the first six months of 2007, Raiffeisen International opened 108 new branches on balance, which is an average of about four branches per week, to a total of 2,956.
Branches are the primary and most important sales channel in CEE-banking, as the average banking customer in CEE still favours the personal touch in a relationship with his or her bank. «People put a lot more trust in their local bank branch and the advisors that staff them. It is well known that branch proximity is the single most important factor to customers when choosing a bank. Not only do branches serve as magnets for attracting new customers to Raiffeisen but they also provide valuable support in increasing awareness of the Raiffeisen brand which directly impacts sales», said Aris Bogdaneris, Board Member at Raiffeisen International in charge of Retail Banking.
Raiffeisen International already ranks first among international banking groups in five CEE-markets in terms of the number of business outlets (Albania, Belarus, Kosovo, Russia and Ukraine). More than half of the 3,000 branches are located in the fastest-growing banking markets of the CIS. «We have an unparalleled distribution power among international banks in the most promising banking markets in Europe», added Stepic.
Especially the Russian banking market grows vigorously. In the first six months of 2007, total banking assets grew by 22.1 per cent to 495.3 billion euros (2006: 405.7 billion euros). This growth momentum is also reflected by the rapid development of Raiffeisenbank Austria, Moscow. At year-end 2002, it ranked only sixth in the network of Raiffeisen International with total assets of 1.28 billion euros. At year end 2006, it was already the largest bank of the group with total assets amounting to 8.15 billion euros.
According to a CEE-banking market forecast model published by Raiffeisen Research, the banking sector in the CIS should grow by an average of 19.5 per cent per annum until the year 2016, compared with 15.4 per cent p.a. for Southeastern Europe and 14.0 per cent p.a. for Central Europe. At the end of 2006, the aggregated total banking assets in the CIS amounted to 469 billion euros, and they are forecast to surpass the trillion-euros mark in 2010. By 2016, this figure is forecast to grow to 2,650 billion euros.
Raiffeisen International operates the largest banking network in CEE. 18 markets of Europe’s growth region are covered by subsidiary banks, finance leasing companies, two representative offices and a number of other financial service providers. Over 13 million customers are attended to through 3,000 business outlets. Raiffeisen International is a fully consolidated subsidiary of Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG (RZB), which owns 68.5 per cent of the common stock. The balance is free float, the shares are traded on the Vienna Stock Exchange. RZB is a leading corporate and investment bank in Austria and the central institution of the Austrian Raiffeisen Banking Group, the country’s largest banking group.
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