Focus on Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe
Edited by Ewald Nowotny, Peter Mooslechner and Doris Ritzberger-Grünwald
Chapter 16: Post-crisis Business Models of Banks in CEE – The Case of Raiffeisen
1 Herbert Stepic The aim of this chapter is to present the perspective of Raiffeisen International, the second-largest bank in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).2 Before I come to the point of what we will change as a result of the financial crisis, let me touch upon what we have done, what our old model looked like, how we have been affected by the crisis, how we reacted, what we expect for the near future, and how we see the mid- to long-term perspective. We have been pioneers, Austrian banks specifically. When I am being asked the question: ‘Mr Stepic, are you unhappy about your investment in Central and Eastern Europe, wouldn’t it have been better you had invested in China, or in Turkey or anywhere else?’ The answer is always the same: ‘No, I’m very happy with our business model because we are in a very specific situation in Central and Eastern Europe. This is a region with 360 million new customers, millions of new owners and new investors in a changing political system and economic transformation.’ If you want to earn money, you can earn a lot of money in a period of change and/or in a region of change. When we had GDP growth in the western hemisphere before the crisis of 0.2 per cent and 0.3 per cent we were very happy: ‘Ok, this is a growth year’. In CEE, in contrast, we were talking about 4.5, 5.5, 6 or 7 per cent of...
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