Strategic outlook 2018

Raiffeisen will continue to operate in a low interest rate environment in 2018. While there may be signs of interest rates gradually normalising over the medium term, interest margins should remain under pressure from the current negative interest rates in the short term. In response, Raiffeisen will not only pursue further qualitative growth in its core business, but will also work to reduce its dependence on the rates business in future.

Expansion of the investment and corporate client business

In the investment business, Raiffeisen focuses on leveraging additional opportunities and growing main bank relationships. In addition to taking action to enhance productivity, it also plans in 2018 to step up its efforts to increase the assets that Notenstein La Roche Private Bank Ltd has under management. The corporate client business will also be intensified and expanded as part of the diversification strategy.

Raiffeisen network – focus on core business

The Raiffeisen network will further tighten its focus on the core business. Raiffeisen is convinced that successful cooperation does not necessarily require a strategic equity investment. This allows Raiffeisen to focus its capital allocation on the core business amid tightening regulatory capital requirements.

Actively driving and promoting digitisation and innovation

The successful rollout of the new core banking system at the Raiffeisen banks has top priority in 2018. As financial and other resources become available in the medium term, they will be allocated to digitisation, market programmes and other efforts to drive the Group's strategic growth. Driving innovation is extremely important to the Raiffeisen Group's development and future success.

Raiffeisen aims to embrace digitisation along the value chain, tighten its client focus, enhance efficiency with digital end-to-end processes, and actively drive its positioning and growth in ecosystems (e.g. home).

Another important issue for Raiffeisen is the optimisation of digital and physical sales channels. To ensure the long-term success of its physical sales channels, it is necessary for Raiffeisen to refine its structures and service delivery in a focused manner. Changing client needs will drive further reductions in the number of branches, which will increasingly shift toward an advisory bank model. However, the physical sales network with local, personal client interactions will remain absolutely essential for Raiffeisen.

Project agenda 2018 – focused investments in the future

In the 2018 financial year, Raiffeisen will focus strongly on things that have a long-term income impact and contribute heavily to the goals of the strategic approaches. One particularly important new programme in the core business aims to use simple, standardised credit processes to leverage the opportunities of digitisation and thus sustainably operate the lending business at a profit. Another central issue for Raiffeisen is the ongoing refinement of the new core banking system. Regulatory projects are on the agenda for 2018 in addition to strategic projects.

New department and management structure – even greater client intimacy

Beginning on 1 January 2018, Raiffeisen Switzerland will be tightening its client focus with a new department and management structure and end-to-end process design. The updated organisational structure also satisfies modern corporate governance standards and complies with regulatory requirements for systemically important institutions. It has the added benefit of ensuring adequate and effective risk management system in the future, too.