With over 1.2 million e-banking contracts (+7.5%), 66.5 million logins (+13%) and 110 million payment orders (+7%), it has been another extremely successful year for e-banking. Once again, it was the most frequently used interaction channel between Raiffeisen banks and Raiffeisen clients. Several improvements and expansions are planned for 2018.
The growing popularity of debit cards (Maestro and V PAY) as a cashless payment method among Raiffeisen clients was reaffirmed in 2017. The number of transactions grew another 12% to 119 million.
The contactless function on the V PAY card launched in late 2016 supports this trend with fast and easy payments at the point of sale – no PIN code is required for transactions up to CHF 40. Contactless payments are already used in 20% of transactions. ATM withdrawals, by contrast, showed their first-ever decline (-1%) – which could signal a loss in the significance of cash.
Other payment innovations support this trend. Raiffeisen launched Raiffeisen TWINT, a mobile payment solution, at the end of May 2017. Every Raiffeisen client who has a debit card from Raiffeisen can register for the mobile payment app with direct bank account integration. By the end of the year, around 100,000 users had already registered. TWINT is most commonly used for person-to-person transfers. TWINT is also increasingly used for online shopping.
Corporate clients also benefit from innovations relating to commercial payment transactions. For example, the new E-Connect platform is highly popular among Raiffeisen's corporate clients, who can now communicate with different financial institutions via EBICS (Electronic Banking Internet Communication Standard). By launching EBICS Mobile, Raiffeisen has become the first bank in Switzerland to offer corporate clients a solution that takes electronic payment security to the next level.
Although growth slowed down slightly, Raiffeisen continues to grow faster than the market average, once again increasing its market share. However, even Raiffeisen saw a slight slowdown in growth, which dipped to 4.3%. As a result of this above-average growth, Raiffeisen's market share also increased slightly (currently 17.5%). As in previous years, low interest rates fuelled strong demand for fixed-rate and LiborFlex mortgages.
Only one year after being systematically integrated in home ownership consultations, energy efficiency evaluations have become a runaway success. In 2017, the Raiffeisen banks completed over 1,500 energy efficiency evaluations of properties that were already financed or were in need of financing. Energy assessments of properties use energy efficiency classes based on the GEAK energy performance certificate. Assessments include estimates of the costs for reasonable home energy retrofits, the potential energy savings, and possible incentives from federal and cantonal governments.
Share of mortgage market by canton 2016*
* The SNB's evaluations for 2017 will only be available after the editorial deadline. Therefore, the market share is reported as at the end of 2016.
Volume trends for various mortgage models 2013–2017
In 2017, Raiffeisen launched RAIlease, a leasing portal for capital goods. This application helps to make leasing transactions more client-driven and speeds up decision-making with an automatic review. Launching RAIlease allows Raiffeisen to more profitably leverage its sales capabilities in capital goods leasing and puts the corporate client business on a stronger footing in the market. The leasing transaction volume increased 13% in 2017.
The number of accounts increased 113,171 to 6,186,956 (+1.9%), while volumes rose from CHF 152.3 billion to CHF 158.8 billion (+4.3%). Growth was concentrated among transaction accounts. Much of this volume growth came from transfers from savings accounts to transaction accounts. Also, many funds held in time and fixed-term deposits were not renewed upon maturity, but were instead transferred to transaction accounts due to the low interest rates. As a result, time and fixed-term deposit volumes decreased from CHF 12.8 billion to CHF 12.1 billion (-5.1%). Raiffeisen has a healthy share of the savings market of roughly 13.1%. In the current year, Raiffeisen converted the last physical savings book due to the launch of a new core banking system and will only offer savings accounts in future.
Raiffeisen recorded an increase of around CHF 1.3 billion in net new money in the current year. Investment funds recorded a very satisfactory increase of CHF 1.2 billion, with over half going into Raiffeisen funds. Structured products reported net inflows of around CHF 100 million. Purchases of direct investments exceeded sales of direct investments by around CHF 30 million.
Raiffeisen began offering regional share baskets in 2017. They allow clients to invest in regionally known, established companies that are globally successful and possess the potential to parlay their innovativeness into success in today's difficult business environment. A total of CHF 58 million was invested in these tracker certificates in the current year.
Trend in volume of securities
The number of pillar 3a pension accounts grew 28,020 to 560,266. Deposits (in account and fund savings plans) swelled 4.2% (+ CHF 78 million) to reach CHF 1.9 billion. Vested assets, by contrast, grew more slowly due to the influence of various external factors, such as the labour market, pension funds and interest rates. Deposits in vested asset accounts – including fund savings plans – grew 4.7% (+ CHF 61 million) to reach CHF 1.3 billion. The use of pension products was once again significantly affected by the generally low interest rates in the current year. The number of retirement custody accounts, for example, increased around 24.4% (pillar 3a pension accounts) and 15.1% (vested asset accounts).
Demand for insurance products remains intact even though sales declined slightly in response to FINMA's adjustment of the technical interest rate for life insurance policies and the correction of the surpluses in old-age pension insurance. We achieved a good result nonetheless due – once again – to comprehensive advisory services provided for home loans. In the single-premium policy business, the decline in old-age pension insurance was partially offset by the tranche products issued by Helvetia.
Total individual life premiums (regular premiums)
The volume in guarantees in the corporate client business enjoyed an above-average increase of 15% to CHF 310 million in the current year. Income from guarantees was roughly CHF 2.6 million in 2017. The upward trend shows that Raiffeisen's good product makes it a strong partner for all client segments in this market. This is how Raiffeisen builds trust among its clients and their contract partners. We expect volumes to grow further in 2018 due to the expanded range of foreign guarantees.
The Corporate Finance unit specialises in advising companies and business owners on the evaluation of strategic options, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), company valuations and financing. In 2016, the unit also became a partner of the MidCap Alliance, an international M&A network that primarily focuses on Europe and the US. In addition to handling mandates for third-party clients, the M&A team also supported a number of transactions for Raiffeisen Switzerland.