Raiffeisen Bank International AG
Company typeAktiengesellschaft
WBAGRBI
ISINAT0000606306
IndustryFinancial services
Founded2010
Headquarters
Vienna
,
Austria
Area served
  • Austria
  • Central Europe
  • Eastern Europe
ServicesRetail and corporate banking
Owner
WebsiteRBInternational.com

Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) is a key entity of the decentralized Raiffeisen Banking Group in Austria, acting both as the latter's domestic central financial entity and as the holding company for all the group's operations outside of Austria. The bank is listed on the Wiener Börse. Its major shareholders are the Raiffeisen Banking Group's eight regional banks (Raiffeisen-Landesbanken), which are bound by a shareholders' agreement and together hold a majority of RBI's equity.[2]

RBI was established in 2010 as a subsidiary of Raiffeisen Zentralbank (RZB), and absorbed the latter in March 2017 through a reverse takeover. Since then, it has been designated as a Significant Institution under European Banking Supervision, and as a consequence is directly supervised by the European Central Bank.[3][4]

RBI is a member of Österreichischer Raiffeisenverband [de] (Austrian Raiffeisen Association), which amongst other things functions as the interest representation association for all Austrian Raiffeisen cooperatives.

History

City Tower with Raiffeisen Bank logo in Prague
Raiffeisen Bank building in Prague
Prime Corporate Center [pl], Raiffeisen Bank building in Warsaw
Raiffeisen Bank building in Sarajevo
Raiffeisen Bank building in New Belgrade
Raiffeisen Bank branch in Huși, Romania
Raiffeisen Bank branch in Ruse, Bulgaria
Raiffeisen Bank logo on a building bordering Kaluzhskaya Square in Moscow, 2016

At the end of February 2010, RZB CEO Walter Rothensteiner announced that a possible merger of some operations of RZB with Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG (RI), an intermediate holding company created in the early 2000s and listed in 2005. The newly-founded Raiffeisen Bank International would incorporate those segments of RZB not directly related to RZB's function as the central institution of the decentralized Raiffeisen Banking Group. On 19 April 2010, the executive boards of the two institutions resolved to present the proposed merger to the shareholders for approval, which was granted at general shareholders' meetings of the RZB on 7 July 2010 and RI on the following day. Raiffeisen Bank International began its activities on 11 October 2010. By the end of 2010, it served over 14 million customers with about 3,000 branch offices.

In 2013, Raiffeisen Bank International opened a branch in Hong Kong.[5] Two years later, its Xiamen branch and Harbin office closed.[6] In 2016, Raiffeisen Banka d.d. of Slovenia (which was renamed KBS Banka and merged with another bank to become Nova kreditna banka Maribor [sl])[7] was sold to Apollo Global Management and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.[8]

On 18 March 2017, Raiffeisen Bank International merged with Raiffeisen Zentralbank;[9] the merger was approved at a January 2017 extraordinary general meeting of RBI's shareholders.[10] The bank suspended the initial public offering of its subsidiary, Raiffeisen Bank Polska, in mid-2017.[11][12][13]

In August 2021, Crédit Agricole S.A. announced the signing of an agreement to sell Crédit Agricole Srbija A.D. to Raiffeisen Bank (Serbia), a fully-owned subsidiary of Austrian Raiffeisen Bank International AG.[14] In accordance with the prior consent of the National Bank of Serbia, Raiffeisen banka a.d Beograd has become the sole owner of Credit Agricole banka Srbija a.d. Novi Sad on April 1, 2022, taking over from Credit Agricole s.a. Paris as the former owner. As a result of the transaction, Credit Agricole bankа Srbija has become a member of the Raiffeisen group. The joint share of the two banks in the Serbian market will be around 12%.[15] After the merger with Crédit Agricole bank, the loan portfolio of Raiffeisen banka is expected to reach almost €3 billion and the client base to exceed one million. The merger of Raiffeisen banka a.d. Beograd and Crédit Agricole Srbija A.D. Novi Sad is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2023.[16]

In November 2021, Belgium-based KBC Bank and Raiffeisen Bank International reached an agreement for KBC to acquire 100% of the shares of Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria) EAD, comprising RBI’s Bulgarian banking operations.[17] In March 2022, Bulgaria's competition regulator said that it gave the green light to KBC Bank, a unit of financial group KBC, to acquire 100% direct interest in Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria and indirect control of the target company's wholly-owned units Raiffeisen Leasing Bulgaria, Raiffeisen Asset Management (Bulgaria), Raiffeisen Insurance Broker, and Raiffeisen Service.[18] The transaction was completed on 7 July 2022 and marked the exit of Raiffeisen from the Bulgarian market.[19]

Raiffeisen also operates subsidiaries in Albania (the former Savings Bank of Albania, acquired in 2004), Hungary [hu], Romania, Ukraine and Russia.

Controversy

Belarus

In June 2020, Raiffeisen Bank International arranged Belarusian government bonds worth over 1.4 billion. By then, opposition Belarusian presidential candidates, demonstrators, and journalists had been arrested by the regime of Alexander Lukashenko amid mass protests. Pavel Latushko of the opposition Coordination Council accused RBI of supporting the dictatorship of Lukashenko, calling on RBI subsidiary Priorbank to end its business relationships with Belarusian state banks and to sell the government bonds. RBI rejected Latushko's charge that the bank economically supported human-rights violations in Belarus.[20]

Raiffeisen and the Russian invasion of Ukraine

In January 2023, U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control became interested in Raiffeisen's Russian business. Raiffeisen is one of the few large international banks that did not wind down its business after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The Russian division of Raiffeisen has the status of a systemically important bank, ranks second in terms of net profit and provides half of the group's net profit (4,2 billion Euros).[21] OFAC sent a request to the bank to "clarify" the bank's business activity in Russia in the light of recent events. Raiffeisen promised to answer questions in several stages during April–June 2023.[22]

In March 2023, Raiffeisen was named an international sponsor of war by Ukraine's National Agency on Corruption Prevention.[23] In December 2023, Ukraine excluded Raiffeisen Bank from the list of war sponsors for the 12th package of EU sanctions against Russia.[citation needed]

As of October 2023, Raiffeisen Bank has not left the Russian market. Under pressure from the Ukrainian government and its allied countries, the Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) has changed its rhetoric. The RBI Group will continue to progress potential transactions which would result in the sale or spin-off of Raiffeisenbank Russia and deconsolidation of Raiffeisenbank Russia from the RBI Group, in full compliance with local and international laws and regulation and in consultation with the relevant competent authorities. RBI also states, that in case of a sale or a spin-off, the CET1-Ratio of RBI Group would stay robust.[24]

Western banks are struggling to leave Russia. According to the Financial Times, banks such as JSC Raiffeisenbank, JSC UniCredit Bank, JSC Commercial Bank Citibank, and others are still operating in Russia.[25] The majority of banks stopped further investments in their Russian subsidiaries. However, it is worth noting that Société Générale was able to leave Russia and sell its assets to Rosbank. That resulted in an estimated loss for the bank of 3.3 billion euros.[26]

On the 7th of April, according to a publication in the Russian media,[27] the Russian branch of RBI stopped issuing new cards with the package “salary”. The official bank comment was that this decision was based on “the market analysis”. However, this could also be a result of the change in rhetoric and statement about reduction of services made earlier.

The next day, the National Bank of Ukraine released a statement commenting on the RBI press release. The NBU pointed out that they see a positive shift in the rhetoric, however, they also acknowledge the lack of a specific plan that will further reduce RBI operations and presence in Russia and lead to the spin-off. On the other hand, the NBU pointed out the systematic contribution of RBI’s subsidiary in Ukraine - Raiffeisen Bank Aval JSC, to the country's financial stability during the raging war.

According to Reuters, one of the senior Raiffeisen executives said that they are negotiating a selling deal for the Russian branch with two potential buyers. However, the spin-off itself could take up to seven months.[citation needed]

Austria had wanted Raiffeisen Bank International removed from the Ukraine blacklist in return for signing off on the latest EU sanctions package against Russia.[28] The bank was "suspended" from the list but Ukraine refused to removed it completely unless it hears more "positive news".[29]

Austrian officials say Raiffeisen has been treated unfairly when other banks, such as Italy's UniCredit, remains active in Russia but does not appear on the list of sponsors of war.[29]

On 7 March 2024, the US Treasury Department stated it was to meet Raiffeisen to warn they "risk being cut off from the U.S. financial system".[30]

See also

References

  1. ^ "RBI Share". Raiffeisen Bank International. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  2. ^ "Shareholder Structure". Raiffeisen Bank International. Retrieved 11 July 2017.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "The list of significant supervised entities and the list of less significant institutions" (PDF). European Central Bank. 4 September 2014.
  4. ^ "List of supervised entities" (PDF). European Central Bank. 1 January 2023.
  5. ^ "Raiffeisen Bank International opens Hong Kong branch (with photo)" (Press release). Hong Kong Government. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  6. ^ "Ào dì lì ào hé guó jì yín háng gǔ fèn yǒu xiàn gōng sī guān bì xià mén fēn háng, hā' ěr bīn dài biǎo chǔ de pī fù" 奥地利奥合国际银行股份有限公司关闭厦门分行、哈尔滨代表处的批复 (Press release) (in Chinese). Beijing: China Banking Regulatory Commission. 2 April 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  7. ^ "History". Nova KBM. Archived from the original on 15 April 2019. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  8. ^ "RBI closes sale of Raiffeisen Banka in Slovenia" (Press release). Raiffeisen Bank International. 30 June 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  9. ^ "RBI: Successful completion of merger with RZB" (Press release). Raiffeisen Bank International. 18 March 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  10. ^ "Raiffeisen shareholders back plan for internal merger". Reuters. 24 January 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  11. ^ "RBI: Intention to float shares of Raiffeisen Bank Polska S.A." (Press release). Raiffeisen Bank International. 19 June 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  12. ^ "RBI: Raiffeisen Bank Polska IPO to be postponed" (Press release). Raiffeisen Bank International. 6 July 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  13. ^ "Raiffeisen Suspends IPO of Its Polish Unit, Citing Weak Demand". The New York Times. 6 July 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  14. ^ "Crédit Agricole S.A. announces the signing of an agreement for the sale of its Serbian subsidiary Crédit Agricole Srbija A.D." (Press release). KBC Bank. 5 August 2021. Retrieved 3 April 2022.
  15. ^ "Raiffeisen banka a.d. Beograd - owner of Credit Agricole banka Srbija a.d. Novi Sad" (Press release). National Bank of Serbia. 1 April 2022. Retrieved 3 April 2022.
  16. ^ "Raiffeisen Banka a.d. Beograd successfully closed acquisition of Crédit Agricole Srbija A.D. Novi Sad" (Press release). Raiffeisen banka. 1 April 2022. Retrieved 3 April 2022.
  17. ^ "KBC acquires Bulgarian operations of Raiffeisen Bank International" (Press release). KBC Bank. 15 November 2021. Retrieved 3 April 2022.
  18. ^ "Belgium's KBC Bank gets antitrust nod to buy Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria" (Press release). See News. 4 March 2022. Retrieved 3 April 2022.
  19. ^ "KBC completes acquisition of Raiffeisen Bank International's Bulgarian operations" (Press release). KBC group. 7 July 2022. Retrieved 25 August 2022.
  20. ^ "Weißrussische Opposition kritisiert Raiffeisenbank International" (Press release). Die Presse. 8 March 2021. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  21. ^ "Geschäftsberichte". www.rbinternational.com (in German). Retrieved 2023-08-11.
  22. ^ "Exclusive: U.S. sanctions authority probes Raiffeisen on Russia". Reuters. 2023-03-20.
  23. ^ "Ukraine declares Raiffeisen Bank international sponsor of war". Retrieved 2023-03-30.
  24. ^ "Update on RBI's business activity in Russia". www.rbinternational.com. Retrieved 2023-08-11.
  25. ^ "Western banks struggle to exit Russia after Putin intervention".
  26. ^ "Leave russia: Societe Generale".
  27. ^ "Райффайзенбанк отказался от оформления пакета услуг "Зарплатный"".
  28. ^ "Austria backs EU Russia sanctions after Ukraine removes Raiffeisen from blacklist". www.reuters.com. Retrieved 2023-12-22.
  29. ^ a b Balmforth, Tom; O'Donnell, John (15 February 2024). "Ukraine refuses to take Raiffeisen off Russia war blacklist". Reuters.
  30. ^ Rettman, Andrew (9 March 2024). "EU banks in Russia react to US sanctions threat". EU Observer. Retrieved 9 March 2024.