Raiffeisen Banking Group Austria

The Austrian Raiffeisen Banking Group is the country’s largest banking group. Almost every second Austrian is a client of Raiffeisen.

Banking group

Raiffeisen Banking Group Austria has the densest network of banks in the country.

  • 477 independent Raiffeisen banks with about 1,600 branches
  • eight Raiffeisen Regional Banks
  • Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich AG (RZB) as central institution

Around 1.7 million Austrians are members and thus co-owners of Raiffeisen banks. Almost every second Austrian is a client of Raiffeisen.

Being a universal banking group, Raiffeisen offers its clients a comprehensive bancassurance scheme.

Due to the close interconnection between the three levels mentioned and the specialised affiliated and associated companies of RZB, all Austrian Raiffeisen banks can meet the individual needs of all customer groups and deliver a bancassurance service “under one roof”. RZB is the central institution of the Raiffeisen Banking Group Austria and the parent company of Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI). In Austria, RBI focuses on the commercial banking and investment banking business, renders services to the country’s 1,000 top companies and considers itself the corporate finance bank and leading provider of export financing for this customer group.

The bancassurance offer of the Raiffeisen Banking Group also includes finance services of specialised Raiffeisen companies, for example of the securities fund company Raiffeisen Capital Management, Raiffeisen-Versicherung (insurance), Raiffeisen-Leasing or Raiffeisen Bausparkasse (building society), which belong to the market leaders in Austria.

History

An idea becomes success

Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen (1818-1888) was mayor of a municipality in the German Westerwald area characterised by famine and poverty. He committed himself to alleviating the great economic hardship of the population. In 1862, Raiffeisen established a loan society association, thus laying the foundation for the organisation of Raiffeisen cooperatives that operates globally today.

Raiffeisen banks in Austria

Only ten years after the foundation of the first Raiffeisenkasse in Muehldorf (Lower Austria), already 600 savings and loan societies were operating according to the Raiffeisen system.

Following the example of Raiffeisen, the single cooperatives founded regionally active national centres (from 1894 onwards).

In 1898, a joint association was formed in Vienna on a national level, which is today called “Österreichischer Raiffeisenverband” (Austrian Raiffeisen Association). Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich AG was founded in 1927.

Philosophy

Raiffeisen has been operating in Austria for more than 100 years.

In the course of time, the Austrian Raiffeisen cooperatives adjusted to the changed economic and socio-political circumstances, however, without giving up their proven principles.

The main elements of the concept of cooperatives:

  1. Self-help: willingness to help each other
  2. Self-administration: Based on democratic principles, the members decide about their cooperative themselves.
  3. Economic solidarity: with a common economic goal, based on mutual responsibility (= liability)
  4. Sustainable success of the cooperative: The mutual goal is sustainable economic improvement. Stage victories do not always help to achieve this target.
  5. Subsidiarity: The cooperative’s strength is only applied in cases in which the individual’s strength is not sufficient, meaning they need help.
  6. Principle of identity: Members (co-entrepreneurs) and customers are identical in a cooperative.

Structure

The Raiffeisen Banking Group has a three-tier structure.

The three tiers operate according to the principle of subsidiarity and each addresses a different target group:

  • The clients of the local Raiffeisen banks are private persons, freelancers and SMEs.
  • The Raiffeisen Regional Banks address the middle-market sector (SMEs) and also corporate customers.
  • Raiffeisen Zentralbank (RZB) acts as an interface between Raiffeisen Austria and Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) with the biggest CEE network of an Austrian bank. In Austria, RBI is specialized in the commercial banking and investment banking business, renders services to the country’s 1,000 top companies and considers itself the corporate finance bank and leading provider of export financing for this customer group.

Brand

The Gable Cross is characteristic for Raiffeisen.

We come across them every day, regardless of whether we are watching tv, catching the tram or taking a walk. We can not imagine life without them: brands.

But brands are more than simple word logos or logo images. You can not invent them just like that. They emerge. Where life takes place. In daily business.

The common symbol that connects all activities of the Raiffeisen Group is the Gable Cross.

Originally, the Gable Cross was the Germanic symbol for a guarded house and in the past, people used to attach it to the house gable in order to protect the inhabitants from all manner of danger.

The Raiffeisen organisation chose this protective sign as its symbol, as its members protect themselves from economic risks by forming a cooperative.