World's best bank transformation 2018: Raiffeisen Bank International
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World's best bank transformation 2018: Raiffeisen Bank International

Decisive action and a renewal of its commitment to the region allowed Raiffeisen Bank International to keep its central and eastern European network intact.

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It can be hard to believe today that barely three years ago analysts were predicting the demise of Raiffeisen Bank International’s central and eastern European empire.

As the Austrian group posted its first ever full-year loss for 2014 and faced increasingly insistent questions from regulators about its meagre capital base and hefty exposure to Russia, many felt that the only way back would be through a drastic reduction of its sprawling regional network.

Instead, RBI has emerged in better shape than at almost any point since the financial crisis. Profitability, while not back to the glory days before 2008, is healthy. Return on equity last year came in at 12.2%. More importantly, this is now based on solid foundations in the form of a comfortable capital cushion.

What is more, contrary to expectations, this recovery has been achieved without any big changes to RBI’s business model or drastic reductions in geographical coverage.

The group still boasts subsidiaries in 14 CEE markets, including a sizeable operation in Russia.

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