Austrian Raiffeisen Zentralbank Through The 2006-2010 Crisis
AbstractFar less known than big capitalist banks, a few institutions issued from philanthropic sectors succeeded in stretching all over new European and even international markets. Two Austrian banks maintained the rankings of the Vienna place, Erste Bank and Raiffeisen Bank. This latter duplicated its Austrian activities through an array of subsidiaries in balkanic, central and eastern Europe. This raised issues about the evolution of its portfolio of skills, its mode of governance through the process of fixing rules to risk-taking, and about its ability of practicing “regional universal banking” without weakening its corporate culture in risk management and in supervising retail banking and customership among professionals and small and medium sized enterprises. The recent crisis altogether raised concerns about this success and cases studies to gauge the resiliency of this new big actor of European commercial banking. All over Europe, banks were confronted to the direct (bad loans, huge losses on proprietary trading) or indirect (global crisis of confidence, refinancing and even illiquidity) effects of the recent financial crisis. Although the overall picture is that cooperative banks have weathered the crisis relatively well, they also had to take substantial losses (see chapter XXX for an European comparison of banking performance during the recent crisis). In France the head groups of mutualist banks Banques populaires and Caisses d’épargne have been stricken harshly by the banking crisis in 2007-2008; in Germany, the regional half-central or federal banks (Landesbanken, as state banks linked with savings banks) are mostly crippled by a dire crisis of governance, management and strategy; even in Spain, a few thrift (but not cooperative) institutions had to bear the load of their over-investments or - lending in favour of real estate and building companies. Against such a background, very few cooperative banks appear to cross the tempest without serious leaks, mainly Dutch Rabobank , French Crédit mutuel Centre-Est Europe. We have to consider there whether the Austrian Raiffeisen Zentralbank group did fare well in such a durable crisis. This case study1 will ponder the reasons why Raiffeisen Zentralbank (RZB) escaped the strikes of the crisis for several terms and what chances it disposes of to resist the further developments of the slump. It starts with a brief review of the rise of cooperative banking in Austria. Then section 2 describes how Vienna-rooted cooperative banking developed a growth strategy and successfully conquered new markets in Central and Eastern Europe. Subsequently sections 3 and 4 consider the recent strategy of the group; then consider its advantage edge and its portfolio of skills; last, determine its very resistance to the crisis.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Scientific Society of Management from Romania in its journal Business&Leadership.
Volume (Year): 2 (2011)
Issue (Month): 8 (September)
Raiffeisen Zentralbank; strategy of duplication; risks management; managerial rigor;
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