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Raiffeisen banks make record profit

The Raiffeisen group has 1,200 branches in Switzerland Keystone

The Raiffeisen group of savings and loans banks, the country's third-largest banking group, has announced a record profit of SFr506 million ($430 million) for 2004.

Raiffeisen said on Wednesday that it had managed to consolidate its position on the market despite the harsher economic climate.

The group said it was the first time ever that its consolidated result, which is up 11.6 per cent on 2003, had surpassed the half a billion franc mark.

It added that the figures confirmed Raiffeisen’s number three position in Switzerland’s banking sector behind the leaders, UBS and Credit Suisse.

“Raiffeisen has become a leading light in retail banking,” said Raiffeisen head Pierin Vincenz at a news conference at its headquarters in St Gallen.

The Swiss Union of Raiffeisen Banks represents 450 independent institutions in Switzerland and is run cooperatively. It has 2.5 million clients.

Total assets for 2004 stood at SFr106 billion, up by 3.9 per cent. Customer loans were up by 5.7 per cent to SFr87 million and customer deposits rose 7.5 per cent to SFr81 million.

Market share

Vincenz said the bank had increased its market share to 17.5 per cent despite stronger competition in the sector and an increasingly price-conscious clientele.

Growth in savings and investments was twice that of the competition last year, he added.

Progress was also made in the mortgage market, where Raiffeisen increased its share to 13.4 per cent.

And Vincenz was upbeat about the group’s prospects, adding that he expected a repeat performance for profit for 2005.

However, he warned that competition in the market was likely to stunt growth and said that the group did not plan to greatly expand the number of its branches – currently 1,200 – in the near future.

swissinfo with agencies

The Raiffeisen group of banks has more than 2.5 million customers in and has 1,200 branches.
It manages SFr80.8 billion in customers’ money and, with total assets of SFr106.1 million, is the third-largest banking group in Switzerland, behind UBS and Credit Suisse.
Zürich’s cantonal bank claims it is the third largest bank in Switzerland.

The 450 independent banks in the Raiffaisen group are structured as cooperatives, with their association’s headquarters in St Gallen.

The association is responsible for coordination within the group and looks after IT, infrastructure and refinancing. Risk management and control are also parts of its mandate.

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