The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2020 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Austria: On the trail of the Habsburgs

In a period of mega bank mergers, how can smaller players compete? Through unparalleled regional expertise, say Austria's three leading financial institutions. They are carving out a niche as the experts in eastern Europe. Market downturns haven't put them off this approach. Each has a distinct strategy for expansion. But can they live with the big boys? Marcus Walker reports.

As snow falls on Vienna, a veteran banker gazes through the window and reminisces about his time at Creditanstalt, once the country's most prestigious financial institution but since 1997 a dismembered subsidiary of Bank Austria. "We had an ésprit de corps," he says about the days of independence. "We were proud of being very internationally minded, back when most other Austrian bankers couldn't see further than their local church tower." He recounts how Creditanstalt got its licence to bank in New York in 1983. US officials stared in disbelief at its founding charter: a note scribbled in 1855 by Habsburg Emperor Franz Josef, allowing a group that included Prince Egon von Fürstenberg and Salomon Mayer von Rothschild to create a credit institute.

Take out a complimentary trial

Take out a 7 day trial to gain unlimited access to and analysis and receive expertly-curated updates direct to your inbox.


Already a user?

Login now


We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree