Raiffeisen CEO Herbert Stepic has told RBI that the launch of the bank’s online banking subsidiary, Zuno, in Slovakia in December will be followed by the Czech Republic in 2011 and later in Hungary and Poland.
Stepic said the bank decided to roll out an online bank when asset liquidity began to decline with the onset of the financial crisis.
“We decided in 2008 to launch an online bank because we saw a rising demand and market for online banking,” Stepic said.
“We have had several years of experience of playing the field – because we had developed direct banking in Slovakia in the 1990s and were one of the first banks in CEE to develop online banking, but it was not through a direct online banking arm,”
Zuno launched in Slovakia on 6 December 2010.
“The next country will be the Czech Republic in 2011, followed by Hungary and Poland,” Stepic added.
“We have started preparations [in all three countries] and have got regulatory approval from the Czech Republic. We expect to go live with Zuno this year and are already working intensively on the IT applications.”
“Our motto is, ‘Zuno – less bank, more life’. We want to be a bank that can offer customers a very quick way of dealing with their banking needs. We do not want to waste their time. [Zuno] is for the young, urban, modern people of CEE.
“What we want to achieve with the direct banking concept is to offer customers a current account, enabling them to make transactions from home and make deposits.
“Besides our brick and mortar concept, we want to establish an ideal business platform that can help us generate more liquidity.
“If we can generate more deposits with Zuno, we can hedge the whole group.”
Stepic added that the bank had already employed people for its Zuno unit in Poland and Hungary, but would not be drawn on specifying a date on which the bank would go live in Poland and Hungary.
The Czech National Bank approved the operation of Zuno in June 2010 and the unit has already filled key positions since its legal establishment in August last year.
In Poland, Zuno Bank was established in September 2010 and the bank is currently developing its IT systems.
In Hungary, a general manager was employed to commence the recruitment process.