CEE's best bank 2019: Raiffeisen Bank International
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CEE's best bank 2019: Raiffeisen Bank International

Awards for Excellence 2019

It is hard to believe now that four years ago the winner of this year’s best bank for central and eastern Europe, Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), was on the brink of disaster and facing calls to dismantle its regional network.

Over the past 18 months, under new chief executive Johann Strobl, the Austrian group has gone from strength to strength. In April 2018, RBI finally managed to exit its Polish operation, drawing a line under three years of restructuring and boosting its common equity tier-1 ratio to 13.4%.

Non-performing loans fell again to 3.8% of the group total by the end of December – from 5.7% a year earlier – while consolidated net profit for the year jumped by 14% to €1.27 billion, giving a return on equity of 12.6%.

This impressive result was buoyed by rising interest rates in key markets such as the Czech Republic and Romania. However, RBI also reaped the rewards of an aggressive growth strategy. Last year, the group took advantage of benign economic conditions and rising consumer confidence across the region to step up the pace of lending, with a focus on the lucrative retail and small and medium-sized enterprise segments.

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