07 October 2012

Raiffeisen brand to be introduced in Slovakia, to open its first branch in November

- First bank in Slovakia to opt for a franchising model to drive expansion

02 October 2012 - Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI) will introduce the Raiffeisen brand in Slovakia. "After more than 20 years of operations in Slovakia, we will now for the first time open branches under the name of Raiffeisen Bank. We aim at attracting new customer groups with this brand that just celebrated its 125th anniversary in Austria and stands for security, sustainability and trust, values that clearly again gained importance during the past years", said Karl Sevelda, Deputy Chairman of RBI's Managing Board and responsible for Slovakia. 

The first branch will be opened at the beginning of November in Skalica, some 90 km north of the capital Bratislava. By the end of the year, Raiffeisen Bank aims to have about 10 operational branches. Raiffeisen Bank will be the third bank brand introduced by RBI in Slovakia after Tatra banka, which started operations in 1991, and direct bank ZUNO launched at the end of 2010. 

Raiffeisen Bank will be the first bank in Slovakia to operate a franchise model, whereby branch managers – so called franchisees, who are selected in a thorough screening process – operate branches on the basis of a licence they have to purchase from Raiffeisen Bank. They are obliged to strictly follow brand-usage rules and service quality standards, and fulfil sales targets defined by Raiffeisen Bank as franchisor. The rules also apply for product design and scope, terms and conditions, risk assessment and processes. The bank sees franchising as an opportunity to significantly increase the speed of expansion, while at the same time keeping operating costs as low as possible. 

"Slovakia remains one of the most attractive retail banking markets in the region. Thanks to the franchising model under the Raiffeisen brand name, we aim to attract an entirely different market segment of customers who prize 'value for money' and a strong rapport with their local branch. In this set-up, the branch manager will have strong local roots and serve as the primary catalyst to attract new customers. The Raiffeisen brand opens up new growth opportunities for us in the Slovak market and is a perfect complement to our two existing and very successful banking brands, Tatra banka and ZUNO. And thanks to the franchising model and the consequent sharing of costs and operational activities with Tatra banka, our costs are very low", said Aris Bogdaneris, RBI’s Chief Operating Officer and Managing Board Member responsible for Retail Banking. 

The bank sees itself as a retail bank, meaning it will focus exclusively on individuals and will not serve corporate customers. Responsibility for its operations will lie with Karol Kováč, who previously held various management positions at Tatra banka. 

Raiffeisen Bank’s legal status will be that of a branch of Tatra banka, a.s., meaning that it will operate under Tatra banka’s licence. This legal set-up makes it possible to use Tatra banka’s existing structure for operating activities, which is an efficient solution for Raiffeisen Bank in terms of both service and cost. 

Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI) regards both Austria, where it is a leading corporate and investment bank, and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) as its home market. In CEE, RBI operates an extensive network of subsidiary banks, leasing companies and a range of other specialised financial service providers in 17 markets. RBI is the only Austrian bank with a presence in both the world's financial centres and in Asia, the group's further geographical area of focus. In total, around 61,000 employees service about 14.2 million customers through more than 3,100 business outlets, the great majority of which are located in CEE. 

Source: RZB