RZB steps up activities in Scandinavia

Publish date: 09-05-2007
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Raiffeisen Zentralbank österreich AG (RZB) is about to embark on a major expansion of its business activities in Scandinavia. On the occasion of the opening of RZB's representative office in the Swedish capital Stockholm, Karl Sevelda, RZB Board Member for Corporate Customers, explained the reasons for stepping up the group's activities on this market: "Scandinavia is a very attractive and open economic area. Especially on account of its proximity to Central and Eastern Europe where it already maintains intensive economic relations, it is a logical step that we now also offer a broader range of services there. Together with our Scandinavian customers - both present and future - we want to fully utilize the potential for economic growth in the dynamic region of Central and Eastern Europe."

For RZB, there is consistency in the step to expand business activities in Scandinavia: "Especially because we have built up a unique universal banking network in Central and Eastern Europe, our customers in the rest of Europe can look to us as the best possible partner for all activities in this region," said Sevelda. RZB pursues the goal of refining its profile in Scandinavia as the top service-provider for a region with top growth perspectives "right outside our front door". While the gross domestic product of the eurozone hardly grew in real terms last year, that of Central Europe went up by 5 per cent, that of Southeastern Europe by 7 per cent, and that of Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine by 8 per cent on average.

In fact, Raiffeisen is the best example for the significance that Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) can have for the development of a company. In only twenty years' time, the RZB Group has built up one of the largest banking networks in CEE, consisting of banks and leasing companies with nearly 2,900 business outlets, numerous specialized companies and two representative offices in 18 markets of the region.

In the Scandinavian region, RZB will primarily address those customers who are beginning to access the many new sales markets in CEE. On account of its unique position, RZB is not a competitor for banks in Scandinavia. "Our goal is not the local banking business in Scandinavia. Rather, the service that we want to provide is to support customers when going to CEE and Austria, because that is where we have our home markets," said Sevelda in describing the strategy, "It is our expertise, as well as our award-winning products and services in Central and Eastern Europe, we make available to customers."

RZB already has intensive business contacts with Scandinavia. 150 of the top enterprises there have already become customers, of which a solid 50 come from Sweden. "We began to go east very early, long before the fall of the Iron Curtain, which gave us a decisive competitive edge. When the markets began to open, we were able to offer our customers the solutions for accessing them. Now, the RZB Group has a network in CEE that offers customers the same excellent level of services as in Vienna," Sevelda concluded.

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