Raiffeisen will be the first bank in Slovakia to operate a franchise model, whereby branch managers or franchisees selected via a screening process, operate branches on the basis of a licence they have to purchase from Raiffeisen. Raiffeisen sees franchising as an "opportunity to significantly increase the speed of expansion, while at the same time keeping operating costs as low as possible".

According to Raiffeisen, the franchisees are obliged to strictly follow brand-usage rules and service quality standards, and fulfil sales targets defined by Raiffeisen as franchisor. The rules also apply for product design and scope, terms and conditions, risk assessment and processes.

The first branch will be opened at the beginning of November in Skalica, approximately 90 km north of Sovakia’s capital city Bratislava.

"We aim to attract new customer groups with this brand that just celebrated its 125th anniversary in Austria and stands for security, sustainability and trust, values that clearly again gained importance during the past years", said Karl Sevelda, deputy chairman of Raiffeisen’s managing board and responsible for Slovakia.

Aris Bogdaneris, Raiffeisen’s COO and managing board member responsible for retail banking said Slovakia remains one of the "most attractive retail banking markets" in the region.

"Thanks to the franchising model under the Raiffeisen brand name, we aim to attract an entirely different market segment of customers who prize ‘value for money’ and a strong rapport with their local branch. In this set-up, the branch manager will have strong local roots and serve as the primary catalyst to attract new customers.

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"The Raiffeisen brand opens up new growth opportunities for us in the Slovak market and is a perfect complement to our two existing and very successful banking brands, Tatra banka and ZUNO. Thanks to the franchising model and the consequent sharing of costs and operational activities with Tatra banka, our costs are very low", Bogdaneris added.

By the end of 2012, Raiffeisen aims to have about 10 operational branches.