150 New Bank Austria Branches in Eastern Europe
The new board of the CEE Division of Bank Austria presented the group's expansion plans for Eastern Europe. By 2015, 900 branches are to be added.
Gianni Franco Papa, who is responsible for the CEE Division of the UniCredit subsidiary Bank Austria, announced massive expansion plans. 150 new branches are to be created still this year in Eastern Europe, by 2015 they will be 900., Bank Austria is responsible for the Eastern European market within the UniCredit Group, with the exception of Poland. According to Papa, this division of responsibilities will not change.
Despite these capacities, the number of employees is to remain the same. Papa plans to push growth with efficiency effects.
The new locations will be created mainly in Romania and Turkey. 300 new branches are to be added in each of both countries by 2015. Russia and Hungary will receive 120 new locations each. New branches are also being planned in Poland and Slovenia.
No retreat is being considered from currently difficult markets such as Kazakhstan and Ukraine.
Further growth is to take place "organically", but acquisitions are also possible. The proportion of the Russian VTB Bank, which is being sold by the government, is of no interest to the group. About 14% of the sales already come from the CEE region; by 2016, this proportion will increase to 25%.
A relatively low cost-income ratio of 45% allows the business in Eastern Europe to grow faster than in Western Europe. Nevertheless, Papa said that the growth rates of recent years would no longer be achieved.