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Raiffeisen becomes third largest Swiss banking group

Raiffeisen employs a staff of just over 5400 Keystone Archive

The Association of Raiffeisen Banks says it has overtaken Zurich Cantonal Bank to become Switzerland's third largest financial institution.

Raiffeisen, which employs a staff of just over 5400, said on Wednesday it had made progress in expanding into urban areas.

“We have made significant inroads in certain sectors of the market,” said Pierin Vincenz, president of the Raiffeisen banking group.

The banking group currently has a national network of 512 branches, but still lags behind Switzerland’s two banking giants, Credit Suisse and UBS.

In a press communiqué, Raiffeisen said its balance sheet for 2001 stood at SFr82.4 billion, up nearly seven per cent on the previous year.

Zurich Cantonal Bank, previously considered to be the country’s third largest institution, said a distinction should be made between its operations and those of Raiffeisen.

“We are a single bank, whereas Raiffeisen is in reality a number of banks which have been brought together to collectively form one group,” said Sibylle Käser, a spokesperson for Zurich Cantonal Bank.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR