It was another highly successful year for the Raiffeisen banks' digital client channels, with as many as 402,000 e-banking logins recorded on a single day. Raiffeisen e-banking was again the most frequently used interaction channel between Raiffeisen banks and Raiffeisen clients.
- –Contracts 1,302,000 (+7%)
- –Logins 77,900,000 (+17%)
- –Payment orders 119,300,000 (+8%)
The previous e-invoice function was replaced with a new portal solution in autumn 2018. The change in platform also brought a new name for the electronic invoice, which went from being called "E-Rechnung" to "eBill". The number of eBill users and eBill volumes are growing constantly. In 2018, Raiffeisen e-banking users paid over six million invoices by eBill.
Additional e-banking improvements and expansions are planned for 2019. In particular, a digital safe is intended to simplify bank-client communication. Raiffeisen banks can store documents for a client and receive documents from the client directly in the client's personal e-safe. Raiffeisen clients can also use the e-safe to store important personal documents.
The number of debit card-based payments (V PAY and Maestro) rose substantially once again, reaching 137 million transactions in 2018. That is an increase of 15%. Only two years after launch, the percentage of contactless payments made with the V PAY card has already climbed to 45%. This success confirms clients' acceptance of this payment method based on its convenience (no PIN code required for CHF 40 or less). In the second half of 2019, the Maestro card will also support contactless payments.
In 2019, our clients will be able to manage their cards themselves with the new Card Self Service. Functions like card blocking, limit modifications or PIN code substitutes will be made available in the new online service. It is accessed via e-banking login.
Raiffeisen launched TWINT, a payment app, in May 2017. The new mobile payment app in the Raiffeisen portfolio is gaining in popularity. There are already over 200,000 active TWINT accounts. Sending money to friends and family (person-to-person transfers) is currently the most popular feature (57% of all transactions). In addition, TWINT's quick and easy payment process makes a compelling case for using it both in e-commerce and in niche applications previously served only by cash. These include paying at parking meters (already available in some Swiss cities) and at farm shops, which are common throughout Switzerland.
Corporate clients benefit from innovations relating to commercial payment transactions. Launched in 2017, the new E-Connect platform is highly popular among Raiffeisen's corporate clients. Hundreds of companies already use E-Connect for modern data communications based on EBICS (Electronic Banking Internet Communication Standard) and to automate their debtor processes using the new ISO-20022 formats.
Raiffeisen sets great store by anticipating changes early on in corporate client businesses and developing corresponding solutions. Raiffeisen was the first bank to fully implement the ISO-20022 standard, responding promptly to market trends in a way that favoured clients. Moreover, Raiffeisen is one of the few banks in Switzerland to offer corporate clients a solution that takes electronic payment security to a considerably higher level: EBICS Mobile.
Raiffeisen recognises the growing importance of e-commerce. It has been helping corporate clients accept and process electronic payments in their online shops since early June 2018.
Another target of the corporate client business was the simplification of administration processes for SME corporate clients in payroll administration, quote preparation and invoicing based on digital services in conjunction with Raiffeisen e-banking.
Mortgage volume growth slowed slightly at Raiffeisen in 2018, dipping to 4.% (previous year: 4.3%). However, since Swiss mortgage volumes also grew more slowly at 3.6%, Raiffeisen ended up with a slight increase in market share. Continued low interest rates were responsible for strong demand for LiborFlex and particularly fixed-rate mortgages.
Energy efficiency evaluations have become more established as part of home ownership consultations in 2018. As a result of this evaluation, clients receive energy assessments of their property on request, along with an energy efficiency classification based on the GEAK energy performance certificate. Assessments also include estimates of the costs of reasonable home energy retrofits, the potential energy savings, and possible incentives from federal and cantonal governments .
Market share of mortgage volumes by Canton*
* The SNB’s evaluations for 2018 will only be available after the editorial deadline. Therefore, the market share as at the end of 2017 is reported.
Trend in volume of various mortgage models 2014-2018
Raiffeisen has been providing export finance solutions since the start of 2018. These products support Swiss companies in financing foreign trade by either advancing funds to the exporter to pay for production or offering the buyer abroad a finance package. Both Raiffeisen and the client are perfectly protected through tie-ins with Swiss Export Risk Insurance (SERV) and other export credit agencies (ECAs). Nonetheless, the entire handling and processing takes place in Switzerland, while all the companies' contacts are located in Switzerland. Raiffeisen banks, Raiffeisen Switzerland and the Raiffeisen Business Owner Centres (RUZ) thereby provided corporate customers with multi-faceted support for developing new markets.
The account volume for Raiffeisen grew slightly more strongly than the market by a total of 4.7% (+CHF 6 billion) in 2018, leading once again to an increase in the market share in this product segment. In the current year, the number of customer accounts increased by 3.2% to 5,487,598 accounts. While the number of traditional savings accounts hardly changed because of the low savings interest rates, growth was primarily in the area of transaction accounts (private and current accounts). Thus, the deposit volume rose in this segment by CHF 5.597 billion (+9.9%). At the same time, 178,890 new transaction accounts were opened (+7.1%). In the case of fixed-rate savings deposits (time and fixed-term deposits), a shift towards sight deposits (transaction accounts) was observed due to the low market interest rates. The fixed-rate savings deposit volume therefore decreased by CHF 870 million (-7.2%).
Raiffeisen reported an increase of CHF 1.8 billion in net new money in the current year. Raiffeisen investment funds did especially well, achieving a gain of CHF 1.1 billion. Net new money in the other investment funds went up CHF 0.3 billion.
Direct investments also performed strongly, increasing CHF 0.3 billion. Structured products reported only a slight increase of CHF 80 million in net new money, partly due to maturities.
Financial market turmoil left its mark on custody account volumes and could not be fully offset by the positive inflows. At the end of 2018, custody account volumes at the Raiffeisen banks and branches were CHF 30 billion, representing a decline of 4.6%. Sustainable products accounted for an encouraging 15% of custody account volumes.
Another success was recorded in early 2018 with the successive rollout of the new Raiffeisen asset management mandates at the Raiffeisen banks. These mandate solutions are fully managed and serviced by Raiffeisen experts. They feature several customisation options that allow clients to select a focus and strategy. They can choose from:
- –Swissness, with a focus on the Swiss domestic market
- –Futura, with a focus on sustainable investments
- –Global in Swiss francs or euros, with a focus on global financial markets
Through regular disbursements and the option to invest directly in Swiss equities as a separate asset class, the mandate can be even more closely tailored to clients' personal needs. The new mandates have aroused considerable interest among clients.
Raiffeisen launched the Raiffeisen Focus Interest & Dividend fund as a product that aims to regularly distribute income from bond coupons and stock dividends to investors while preserving the invested capital as long as possible. Equities are selected for their quality and attractive dividend yields. The fund hedges most of its currency risk. The annual distribution target is an attractive 2.5%. The fund had already grown to CHF 290 million in size by the end of 2018.
Fund savings plans remain highly popular. In 2018, fund savings plans increased 23% in number and recorded CHF 170 million in net new money inflows. Fund savings plans make it possible to easily and systematically build wealth, starting at just CHF 100. However, clients retain full flexibility over their assets at all times.
Trend in volume of securities
The number of pillar 3a accounts grew by 19,035 to 579,301 (+3.4%). Deposits (in account and fund savings plans) swelled 6.6% (+CHF 1 billion) to reach CHF 16.5 billion. Deposits in vested asset accounts, including fund savings plans, are now running at CHF 5.7 billion. The use of pension products was once again significantly affected by the generally low interest rates in 2018. The number of retirement custody accounts, for example, increased around 29.4% (pillar 3a pension accounts) and 28.4% (vested asset accounts). Raiffeisen developed another innovative pension fund in the current year. The new fund has been open for subscription since 15 January 2019 and allocates up to 100% of its portfolio to equities. The new product reflects a growing tendency to provide fund savings plans in the long-term pension business, largely in response to record-low interest rates.
Total individual life premiums went up 21%, contributing to the fourth-best result in Raiffeisen's partnership with Helvetia. The strong increase is attributable to the single-premium business, in which Helvetia launched attractive tranche products. The market environment remains difficult for life insurance policies with regular premiums. Nevertheless, they also increased 6% on the back of comprehensive advisory services provided in connection with home loans.
Total individual life premiums
Additional corporate client service
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 in the current year, including the sale of subsidiary Notenstein La Roche Private Bank Ltd and the selection of a new investment manager for KMU Capital AG's investments.