Management Report

Business development

Key performance indicators

Key performance indicators

in CHF million, percent, number20192020Change in %
Key figures
Gross result from interest operations 2,2672,3503.6
Result from commission business and services4164518.4
Operating income3,0523,0600.3
Operating expenses1,8701,817-2.9
Operating result 9309674.1
Group profit 8358613.1
Cost income ratio 61.3%59.4%
Key balance sheet figures
Total assets248,345259,6534.6
Loans to clients193,450200,3583.6
of which mortgage receivables185,291190,3172.7
Customer deposits176,179190,4258.1
in % of loans to clients91.1%95.0%
Total equity (without minority interests)17,47818,4445.5
Capital resources1
CET1 ratio16.9%18.6%
Tier 1 ratio (going concern)17.9%19.6%
TLAC ratio18.4%20.6%
TLAC leverage ratio7.2%7.3%
Market data
Share of mortgage market17.6%17.6%
Number of cooperative members1,909,2331,935,7901.4
Client assets
Client assets under management2207,288224,0428.1
Lending business
Value adjustments for default risks23526111
as % of loans to clients0.122%0.130%
Resources
Number of employees 10,96811,2072.2
Number of full-time positions9,2959,4922.1
Number of locations847824-2.7
1 According to the systemic importance regime
2 Account balances and securities accounts without own medium-term notes according to note 22 to the annual report

Business performance

The Raiffeisen Group advanced numerous initiatives in the current year. The adoption of the Raiffeisen Group Strategy 2025 in June 2020 has laid the foundation for the future. Raiffeisen also rapidly adapted to the changing framework conditions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. During this period, the Group was focused on providing rapid and straightforward support to our clients.

Despite the challenging environment, the year has been a successful one for the Group. The strong performance of the core business led to sustained high growth in volume as well as to encouraging increases in income, especially in the commission and services business (+CHF 35 million or +8.4%). The efficiency programme that was completed at Raiffeisen Switzerland at the end of 2019, combined with lower spending in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic, led to a marked improvement in operating expenses in the current year (–CHF 54 million or –2.9%). Despite higher value adjustments, and depreciation and amortisation of tangible fixed assets, the solid business development contributed to an operating result of CHF 967 million (+CHF 38 million). The Group posted a net profit of CHF 861 million, well above the previous year’s level of CHF 835 million. Both the operating result and the net profit were the second-highest reported in the history of the Raiffeisen Group.

Growth targets in core business exceeded

Raiffeisen targets healthy growth in its core business in line with the general market development. The aim is to achieve this growth through customised and flexible client solutions without taking higher risks; something that the Raiffeisen banks were once again able to achieve with distinction in the past year. Loans to clients increased by CHF 6.9 billion (+3.6%) to CHF 200.4 billion. Growth in mortgage loans (+CHF 5.0 billion) remained at the targeted level in line with the market. The high volume of Covid-19 loans as part of the federal government’s guarantee programme led to an increase of CHF 1.9 billion in other amounts due from customers.

Growth in client assets was particularly strong. In the current year, customer deposits increased by CHF 14.2 billion (+8.1%) to CHF 190.4 billion, while the custody account holdings increasing by CHF 2.6 billion (+7.5%) to CHF 37 billion. In 2020, Raiffeisen welcomed 37,000 new clients and the number of cooperative members increased by just under 27,000 to 1.936 million.

This strong and broad-based growth is confirmation of the strategy implemented by the Raiffeisen Group. The traditionally strong mortgage business will be complemented by a diverse and growing service offer in the area of “Housing”. Raiffeisen is looking to establish itself as a central solution provider for private residential property. In the current year, this was reflected by Raiffeisen Immo AG’s development into a successful national real estate marketing company and Raiffeisen’s pioneering role in launching the SARON mortgage. In 2021, this vision will continue to be reinforced with the launch of the “LIIVA” platform for homeowners, which is developed together with the Mobiliar cooperative.

Broad-based income

The traditionally strong interest operations continue to account for a large portion of income, so the very solid development of this important pillar of income was an encouraging result. The gross result from interest operations increased by just under CHF 83 million (+3.6%). The challenging economic situation, and its impact on various sectors, led to a significant CHF 40 million increase in newly created value adjustments for credit risks in the second half of the year (+305%). However, the value adjustments for credit risks remain very low in relation to total loans.

Raiffeisen also recorded further successes in the diversification of business areas in the current year. The performance of the commission business and services was very encouraging, increasing CHF 35 million (+8.4%). Considerable progress was particularly made in the investing and retirement business, and custody account volumes also posted a strong increase. With the launch of “Raiffeisen Rio” in the autumn of 2020, Raiffeisen now offers a digital solution to clients who are looking for an easy and modern approach to professional asset management directly on mobile devices. The expansion of retirement and investment activity will continue to be advanced in 2021.

Numerous initiatives to further diversify the business areas were launched in the 2020 financial year, some of which have already been implemented. The focus is on forward-looking solutions in the area of securities trading and investment activity, in the corporate clients business and on expanding the value chain in the residential property business. The new digital offers clear a path for stronger growth in income outside of the interest operations.

Increase in productivity

In 2020, operating expenses fell considerably by CHF 54 million or 2.9% to CHF 1.82 billion. This was attributable to lower general and administrative expenses. This is due to the efficiency programme implemented by Raiffeisen Switzerland in 2019 and lower expenses due to the cancellation of physical general meetings and client events. These stand in contrast to the additional costs for protecting the health of clients as well as employees, and for the expansion of the IT infrastructure.

At the same time, more resources are being deployed for advisory services, the development of new products and the digital client interfaces. This development is reflected in the increase in the number of people employed by the Raiffeisen Group by just under 197 full-time positions, to 9,492 full-time positions (+2.1%) in 2020. In contrast to general and administrative expenses, personnel expenses increased by CHF 5 million. The solid development of income, together with lower costs, reduced the cost/income ratio from 61.3% to 59.4%.

Very good annual result

The 2020 financial year was shaped by the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated efforts to mitigate the economic consequences for corporate clients with the rapid and streamlined granting of Covid-19 loans. At the same time, the strategic priorities defined by the adopted Group strategy were advanced. Overall, the Group achieved a very good annual result with a profit of CHF 861 million thanks to efficiency gains amongst other factors.

Income statement

Income from operating activities

The developments of operating income varied across the interest operations, commission business and trading portfolio assets. While the interest operations and particularly the commission business performed well, income in the trading portfolio assets was below the level posted the previous year. The other result from ordinary activities fell by CHF 56 million. Overall, the operating income of CHF 3.06 billion was slightly above the value recorded the previous year.

Interest operations

The pressure on the interest margin remains high. In addition to this challenging competitive situation, the persistently low interest rate environment put even more pressure on the interest margin. In the current year, the interest margin declined by 4 basis points, from 0.97% to 0.93%, as was the case the previous year. Despite these framework conditions, the gross income from interest operations developed positively, increasing by CHF 83 million (+3.6%), which is not least due to prudent asset and liability management.

In the second half of 2020, the difficult situation in individual sectors was reflected in higher newly created value adjustments. Overall, the “Changes in value adjustments for default risks and losses from interest operations” item increased by CHF 40 million to CHF 52 million. As a result, the gross formation of new value adjustments from lending activities increased to 0.057% of loans (previous year: 0.041%). The net result from interest operations, i.e. after adjusting for the provision for risks, increased by CHF 43 million or 1.9%.

Commission business and services

With an increase of CHF 35 million or +8.4%, the development of the “Result from commission business and services” (note 23) was encouraging. The securities trading and investment activity played an important role in this result, increasing CHF 20 million. The high transaction volume in investment activity led to a significant increase in brokerage income. The asset management mandate was able to be doubled, with growth in the fund savings plan and pension fund volume exceeding 20%. While the commission income from lending activities (+CHF 4 million) also rose, the income figures for the rest of the services business (–CHF 6 million), especially in the area of payments, could not be maintained. The commission expense decreased by CHF 17 million in the current year.

Trading portfolio assets

The Group recorded a fall in the trading portfolio assets (note 24) with a decline of CHF 13 million (–5.9%). The main reason behind this decline was the reduction in banknote and foreign exchange transactions by clients due to the restricted travel activities and foreign transactions.

Other result from ordinary activities

The “Other result from ordinary activities” decreased by CHF 56 million or 36.5% year on year. This is due to the reduced income from participations (–CHF 33 million) and from other ordinary income (–CHF 31 million). The Group benefited from a special dividend from SIX Group Ltd in the previous year, which was included in the income from participations. In addition, the major participations measured using the equity method performed much better in the previous year than they did in the current year. In other ordinary income, the decline is almost entirely due to the sharp reduction in the capitalisation of the costs for the largely complete further development of the core banking system. In contrast to the other sub items, the “Other ordinary expenses” improved by almost CHF 9 million year on year due to the lower value adjustments made to financial investments in response to market developments.

Operating expenses

General and administrative expenses

With respect to operating expenses, the Raiffeisen Group was able to achieve further savings in general and administrative expenses (note 28) in 2020. The efficiency programme at Raiffeisen Switzerland in particular had a positive impact on cost development. In addition, the costs for general meetings and client events fell because of the pandemic. The efficiency programme created financial leeway for investments that target strategic priorities.

Personnel expenses

Personnel expenses (note 27) increased slightly by CHF 5 million or 0.4% in the current year. The number of employees increased by 197 full-time positions or 2.1% to 9,492 full-time positions over the same period. The increase in personnel took place in the second half of the year as permanent positions were offered to a large number of successful programme graduates at the Raiffeisen banks and because new specialists were recruited, primarily to set up the digital systems at Raiffeisen Switzerland. Personnel expenses per head declined slightly from CHF 143,900 to CHF 142,300.

Value adjustments on participations and depreciation and amortisation of tangible fixed assets and intangible assets

This position increased by CHF 46 million or 20.4% in the current year. The depreciation and amortisation on tangible fixed assets increased by CHF 28 million year on year. Value adjustments and depreciation and amortisation on participations and goodwill increased CHF 18 million. This value adjustment was the result of a significant adjustment to the participation in Viseca Holding valued according to the equity method.

Changes in provisions and other value adjustments, and losses

This item fell by CHF 22 million or 90.6% year on year. While restructuring provisions impacted the result in the previous year, no major new provisions were created in 2020.

Operating result

The very strong performance resulted in a CHF 37.9 million increase in the operating result to CHF 967 million in 2020.

Extraordinary income and expenses

The extraordinary income of CHF 6 million includes profits from sales of tangible fixed assets of CHF 4 million. The largest item in the extraordinary expenses of CHF 2 million are the losses from the sale of tangible assets of CHF 0.4 million.

Taxes

Tax expenses (note 30) increased slightly by CHF 8 million or 6.7% year on year. In 2020, effective tax expenses declined by CHF 23 million to CHF 130 million due to the corporate tax reform. There was a reduction in the release of provisions for deferred taxes compared to the previous year due to the corporate tax reform. Deferred taxes are only recognised at the Group level in order to correctly present the tax effect of the measurement differences between the Group’s true-and-fair-view financial statements and the single- entity financial statements of the consolidated companies.

Balance sheet

The strong increase in the Raiffeisen Group’s total assets of CHF 11.3 billion or +4.6% to CHF 259.7 billion reflects the sharp rise in customer deposits. This led to a further increase in the liquidity of the balance sheet, ensuring a robust liquidity situation.

Amounts due from and liabilities to banks

Both amounts due from banks and liabilities to banks fell year on year. Receivables declined by CHF 3.6 billion to CHF 4.0 billion, while liabilities decreased by CHF 1.7 billion to CHF 10.6 billion, which is primarily due to the application of book balance accounting. On a current balance basis, amounts due and liabilities from other banks changed very little year-on-year.

Amounts due and liabilities from securities financing transactions

Securities financing transactions are subject to considerable fluctuations depending on the need for liquidity management. In 2020, the amounts due as well as the liabilities fell sharply due to the tactical liquidity management.

Loans to clients

In the mortgage business, Raiffeisen continued to grow in line with the market, as intended, with an increase of CHF 5 billion (+2.7%) to CHF 190.3 billion. Fixed-rate mortgages were in particular demand due to the low interest rate environment. The Covid-19 loans as part of the federal government’s guarantee programme generated a significant rise in amounts due from customers of CHF 1.9 billion or 23.1% to CHF 10.0 billion. At the end of the year, the Group’s Covid-19 loan portfolio amounted to CHF 1.8 billion.

Despite the persistent growth, the share of the credit portfolio backed by traditionally secure residential property remains constant at 87%. In this segment, the net loan-to-value ratio of 60% is in line with a first mortgage. The share of unsecured loans to corporate clients, not including public-sector entities, remains at 2.2%.

The continued cautious valuation of loans in the second half of 2020 led to a CHF 26 million increase in value adjustments for default risks to CHF 261 million. As a consequence, ratio of the value adjustments as a percentage of loans increased from 0.122% to 0.130%, although it remains at a low level.

Trading portfolio assets

A large portion of the trading position is held to hedge the interest rate risk of the bond components of the structured products issued by Raiffeisen. This hedging position fell by CHF 378 million in the current year, while the other components of the trading position posted a slight increase. Overall, the trading portfolio assets (note 3) saw a decline of CHF 157 million (–4.9%) to CHF 3.0 billion.

Financial investments

Financial investments (note 5) mainly consist of investment-grade bonds, which are managed at Raiffeisen Switzerland in accordance with statutory liquidity requirements and internal liquidity targets. In 2020, the portfolio was expanded significantly by CHF 1.6 billion to CHF 8.8 billion (+22.7%) as part of the balance sheet and liquidity management.

Non-consolidated participations

The book value of participations (note 6) declined slightly by CHF 25 million to CHF 683 million in the current year. Amortisation in the amount of CHF 54 million was reported for the Viseca Holding participation valued according to the equity method as a result of the reduction in the attributable equity capital. In the current year, the member banks of the Pfandbriefbank schweizerischer Hypothekarinstitute AG approved an ordinary capital increase of CHF 100 million. Raiffeisen also participated in the capital increase within the scope of its subscription rights with an amount of just under CHF 29 million.

Tangible fixed assets

The book value of tangible fixed assets (note 8) declined slightly by CHF 16 million to CHF 3.0 billion. New investments amounted to CHF 219 million. Larger investments were made in real estate, in the renovation of client areas and in upgrading automated client services. Capitalisable project expenses for the continued development of the core banking system amounted to CHF 20 million.

Net investment, by category

in million CHF20162017201820192020
Bank buildings 83761099285
Other real estate 81053176
Alterations and fixtures in third-party premises 151192634
IT hardware 1715141621
IT software1292081575624
ATMs79121511
Furniture54664
Fixtures5810106
Office machines, vehicles, security installations731394
Total net investment276344383247195

Net investment, by region

in million CHF20162017201820192020
Lake Geneva region1516352736
Espace Mittelland 3235433829
Northwestern Switzerland and Zurich3529593839
Eastern Switzerland11682272179553
Central Switzerland 1621214028
Ticino10168910
Total net investment276344383247195
1 Incl. central investment by Raiffeisen Switzerland

Intangible assets

The portfolio of intangible assets (note 9) amounts to CHF 7 million and primarily consists of the remaining goodwill for the participation in Leonteq Ltd.

Amounts due in respect of customer deposits

Customer deposits posted exceptionally strong growth in the current year. Holdings increased by CHF 14.2 billion (+8.1%) to CHF 190.4 billion. Our clients tended to take a more cautious approach towards consumer spending in the coronavirus pandemic and held the money saved in their Raiffeisen bank accounts. It appears once again that the propensity to save increases in times of uncertainty. The growth in customer deposits in Raiffeisen banks was even slightly more than the market as a whole (+5.3%). Our market share rose from 13.4% to 13.8%. This reflects the high level of client confidence in Raiffeisen.

The strong rise in customer deposits also led to an increase in the level of refinancing in the client business from 91.1% to 95.0%. At the end of 2020 almost all loans to clients were covered by customer deposits.

The sharp rise in customer deposits is also reflected in the significant growth in the total managed client assets. The increase, including the change in the custody account volume, amounted to CHF 16.8 billion (+8.1%) to reach CHF 224.0 billion. The net new money in the retail business – that is, the volume of external funds transferred to the Raiffeisen Group (not including institutional clients in the treasury business) – amounted to CHF 16.3 billion.

Liabilities from other financial instruments at fair value

This item (note 13) reports the structured products issued by Raiffeisen Switzerland B.V., Amsterdam. Due to circumstances associated with the coronavirus, the business with structured products initially suffered and ended the year slightly down on the previous year. The position declined by CHF 306 million to CHF 2.2 billion. The accounting treatment varies for structured products issued by Raiffeisen Switzerland. Their underlying components are reported in “Bond issues and central mortgage institution loans” and are covered below.

Bond issues and central mortgage institution loans

The “Bond issues and central mortgage institution loans” item (note 14) increased by CHF 666 million or 2.3% to CHF 29.4 billion in the current year. Central mortgage institution loans increased by CHF 1.2 billion to CHF 24.5 billion. Bonds issued by Raiffeisen Switzerland declined by CHF 269 million to CHF 3.1 billion in the same period. A total of six bonds with a volume of CHF 1.5 billion came up for payment in 2020. Raiffeisen Switzerland prematurely repaid the existing Tier 2 bond of CHF 535 million one year before maturity, among other repayments. This was coupled with the scheduled payment of the AT1 bond that was issued in 2015 in the amount of CHF 600 million. In the current year, Raiffeisen successfully placed a new AT1 bond with a nominal value of CHF 525 million, while also issuing five additional bonds, including three bail-in bonds, worth CHF 500 million.

Within the Raiffeisen Group, Raiffeisen Switzerland B.V., Amsterdam as well as Raiffeisen Switzerland issued structured products. Similar to the Group company domiciled in the Netherlands, Raiffeisen Switzerland’s portfolio also declined by CHF 283 million to CHF 1.8 billion. Overall, the Raiffeisen Group’s portfolio of structured products fell by CHF 588 million (–12.9%) to CHF 4.0 billion.

Provisions

Provisions decreased by CHF 31 million to CHF 967 million. The provisions for deferred taxes declined by CHF 11 million in the current year, and no major new provisions had to be recorded in the other provisions item. Another reason for the decline in provisions is the partial use of the restructuring provisions formed in the previous year as part of the 2019 Raiffeisen Switzerland efficiency programme and in the designated use of other provisions in relation to the repurchase of ARIZON Sourcing Ltd.

Capital adequacy/equity capital

Equity capital (statement of changes in equity and note 16) increased by CHF 966 million to CHF 18.4 billion in the current year. Cooperative capital increased by CHF 168 million thanks to continued demand for additional cooperative shares.

In 2019, FINMA gave Raiffeisen its approval to use the IRB model approach for calculating the regulatory capital adequacy of the credit risks starting on 30 September 2019. The approval is subject to the floor transitional rules. The IRB model approach will be phased in gradually over a three-year transitional period with an initially reduced application until it takes full effect at the end of 2022.

As at 31 December 2020, the risk-weighted TLAC ratio amounted to 20.6%. This means that Raiffeisen already meets the current (14.8%) and future (16.7% from 1 January 2026) regulatory requirements for the TLAC ratio. This also applies for the leverage ratio. With a current leverage ratio (not including the temporary Covid-19 relief ending on 1 January 2021) of 7.3%, the Group already exceeded the future requirements at the end of 2020.

Financial outlook for 2021

The coronavirus once again stifled the economic recovery at the end of the year. Personal services were again strongly impacted by the containment measures, while industry fared much better. But the advances on the vaccine front mean that companies across all sectors are confident of returning to their pre-crisis growth paths during the year. The economic setback pushed the start of any normalisation of interest rates even further into the future, and the Swiss National Bank is prepared to continue its exchange intervention operations to put downward pressure on the strong CHF.

The Swiss real estate market has remained unaffected by the crisis to date, but a permanent change in the work environment or a change in living preferences may gradually have an impact over time. However, this will have little effect in the short-term. The unchanged, extremely favourable financing conditions and the ongoing struggle to find investment opportunities are keeping demand high. This situation – together with the decline in supply, which has now extended over many years – continues to push up prices particularly in the private residential property segment.

Development of the Raiffeisen Group's business

The market environment will remain challenging in 2021, particularly due to the persistently low interest rate level and the pandemic. Raiffeisen is well-positioned to make targeted investments as part of the implementation of the strategy. In 2021, Raiffeisen expects a slight fall in interest operations from the highs in the previous year. In the neutral business, Raiffeisen expects yield increases in the commission business and services as it benefits from initial successes generated by the strategy. On the cost side, Raiffeisen expects higher operating expenses resulting from investments in strategy implementation projects and growth in the core business.

Continued development of products and services

Raiffeisen is and will remain the Swiss bank that is closest to its clients – both in person and online. Raiffeisen has a branch network that is denser than any other in the Swiss banking landscape. Raiffeisen can be reached by car within ten minutes by over 90% of the population. Thanks to the 225 autonomous Raiffeisen banks, 824 locations and a total of 1,759 ATMs throughout Switzerland, Raiffeisen is close to its clients. Our e-banking service is one of the most widely used in Switzerland. Over 391,000 payments are processed by the system every day. Raiffeisen has a total client base of over 3.6 million people and 209,000 businesses in Switzerland. This is equivalent to over 41% of the Swiss population and one in every three businesses.

Cooperative generates added value

Over 1.9 million cooperative members are co-owners of their Raiffeisen bank and help shape the Raiffeisen community. In 2020, we welcomed around 27,000 new cooperative members. The purchase of share certificates allows them to enjoy a range of benefits offered by their Raiffeisen bank.

«We need Switzerland» – member benefits in 2020

Raiffeisen rewards client loyalty with membership benefits. In 2020, cooperative members of local Raiffeisen banks once again enjoyed perks, such as the free museum pass or discounted one-day ski passes. In the coronavirus pandemic, Raiffeisen joined together with Switzerland Tourism to launch an additional summer offer. Backed by the slogan “We need Switzerland”. Raiffeisen members enjoyed discounted hotel accommodation, discounted mountain railways tickets and boat rides, as well as discounted and exclusive castle experiences. In 2020, our members enjoyed member benefits to the tune of CHF 139 million.

lokalhelden.ch

In November, lokalhelden.ch achieved a milestone in its still very young history: Around four years after launching lokalhelden.ch, more than CHF 20 million had been raised using the crowdfunding platform. Thanks to this generous donation amount, over 1,100 charitable projects were realised throughout Switzerland. True to the spirit of the banking group’s cooperative principle, Raiffeisen’s lokalhelden.ch takes a local and regional approach to cooperative crowdfunding, thus making an important contribution to a vibrant, athletic, cultural and pro-social Switzerland.

Challenging times demand pragmatic and creative solutions. In response, as part of the SME support measures, Raiffeisen expanded the lokalhelden.ch crowdfunding platform to Swiss SMEs in March 2020. In total, this platform supported 319 businesses with over CHF 2.2 million. The numerous success stories showed the exceptional solidarity of Swiss citizens, even in a difficult year overshadowed by the coronavirus.

Digital banking

Raiffeisen is striving to create a seamless interaction between digital channels and personal contact points. Clients should be able to choose how they want to interact with Raiffeisen. Besides local personal advisory services for clients, Raiffeisen e-banking is the prime channel for quickly and securely establishing contact with Raiffeisen and transacting banking business.

Raiffeisen e-banking celebrated its 20th birthday in 2020. Over the past two decades, Raiffeisen has processed over one billion payments. E-banking is now the most frequently used interaction channel between clients and their Raiffeisen bank. In 2020, the over 1.5 million users (previous year: 1.4 million) logged into e-banking more than 113 million times (previous year: 95.5 million) – with logins to the mobile banking app via smartphone accounting for around 45% of this figure (previous year: 38%). On average, users log into e-banking five times a month or 74 times a year.

In 2021, all users will be gradually migrated from the existing e-banking login to the new Raiffeisen login. The new login further increases security requirements, ensuring maximum protection at all times. What’s more, in future the new login will be the basis for accessing all digital Raiffeisen services, such as Raiffeisen Rio, MemberPlus, E-Safe and the stock exchange application.

Raiffeisen TWINT continues to gain in popularity

With over three million users and over 150,000 acceptance points, TWINT, the digital Swiss payment solution, has established itself as a comprehensive and innovative payment platform across Switzerland. The Raiffeisen TWINT app has taken a leading role with over 700,000 registered users (+60% compared to the previous year) and an active utilisation rate of more than 70% (previous year: 52%). Popular uses include money transfers between friends and family, online shopping, purchases from farm shops and cashless parking. Raiffeisen is working together with TWINT AG to constantly develop new contactless payment options, such as for donations or digital vouchers, which make an important contribution to hygienic, contactless payment.

Online appointment scheduling launched

Our clients’ demand for personal advice remains strong. In the current year, Raiffeisen advisers held over 1.2 million consultations (+20% compared to the previous year) in the branches, at client homes, over the phone and via video chat. Clients should be able to choose how they want to contact Raiffeisen. Since 2020, numerous Raiffeisen banks have provided the option of using the website to arrange a consultation. To arrange a personal meeting, clients can simply select their preferred date and adviser directly online.

Focus on digital client experience

Raiffeisen wants to expand the digital customer channels significantly in the coming years. In the second half of 2021, the group will launch “SME eServices”, a multi-banking platform for corporate clients. “SME eServices” will allow corporate clients to use Raiffeisen e-banking to access third-party bank accounts and transact payments directly on a single platform. In addition, Raiffeisen will develop a client experience portal for private and corporate clients in the coming years. The experience portal will bring together all of Raiffeisen’s digital services – from account opening through to advice, e-banking and product solutions.

Wealth solutions

The pension and investment business is a particularly important pillar of the “Raiffeisen 2025” strategy. Raiffeisen is focussed on transparent and professional solutions that give all clients simple and clear access to the banking business – both in person and online. Raiffeisen also pursued this hybrid approach – personal advice with digital solutions – in the current year.

Holistic and sustainable retirement plan

The annual Raiffeisen representative survey (pension barometer 2020) shows that around one third of the population is planning on early retirement. At the same time, people are expecting to need a higher level of funds in retirement age. These high expectations stand in stark contrast to the continued low level of focus on personal retirement planning. Many people pay little attention to their retirement plans or do so at a late stage. Although pillar 3a has become more popular compared to the previous year, around a quarter of Swiss citizens still do not have a pillar 3a. The Raiffeisen “Pension Radar” app gives our clients the opportunity to quickly and easily gain an overview of their current retirement situation. With the app, users only have to enter a few details to obtain an overview of their probable income from OASI, pension fund, 3rd pillar and unrestricted assets.

Raiffeisen advises its clients for the future based on their current situation in life – from their first payroll account through to estate planning. The bank’s pension advisers provided a total of 12,000 consultations to their clients. These are broken down into 8,700 pension plans, 1,500 advisory meetings to protect against the risk of death/disability/old age and 1,800 inheritance advisory meetings. In line with Raiffeisen’s stronger positioning as a leading retirement planning bank, the bank continued to enhance the expertise of its specialists for pension, retirement and estate planning in 2020 order to meet the growing demand for comprehensive advice on the topic of retirement planning.

Raiffeisen’s wide range of pension solutions support far-sighted and sustainable wealth creation. In 2020, the number of pillar 3a accounts increased by over 22,000 to 630,000 (+3.5%). Deposits (in account and fund savings plans) increased by nearly 3% (+CHF 506 million) to reach CHF 17.6 billion. Deposits in vested asset accounts, including fund savings plans, reached CHF 5.9 billion by the end of the current year, a rise of around 2.3% (+CHF 134 million). The use of pension products was once again significantly affected by the generally low interest rates in 2020. The number of retirement custody accounts, for example, increased by around 25.8% (pillar 3a) and 14% (vested assets).

In 2021, Raiffeisen will launch a digital 3a pension solution. This will allow clients to invest and manage pension assets online and give them a holistic overview of their investment and pension portfolio.

Growth in client deposits

As a cooperative banking group, Raiffeisen is committed to helping as many Swiss residents as possible with wealth planning. Saving money is very important to Raiffeisen clients, whether it is for their personal retirement or for investments and purchases such as residential property. With an an increase of 8.2% (+CHF 14.2 billion) in total in 2020, Raiffeisen’s deposits outperformed the market, leading once again to an increase in market share in this product segment.

In 2020 the number of customer accounts increased by 2.6% to around 5.8 million transaction and savings accounts. While traditional savings deposits (savings accounts) grew by 4.5% or around CHF 3.2 billion, the transaction accounts (personal and current accounts) posted even stronger growth. The deposit volume in that segment rose by more than CHF 11.5 billion (+16.7%). At the same time, 134,000 new transaction accounts were opened (+4.7%). The deposit volume in fixed-rate savings deposits (time and fixed-term deposits) fell by CHF 924 million (–7.6%) due to the low market interest rates.

20 years of sustainable investment

The low interest rate environment continues to increase the importance of investment as an alternative to saving amongst clients. Over 1,200 investment advisors are helping our clients navigate this path from saving to investing to support far-sighted and sustainable wealth creation. For 20 years, Raiffeisen has been offering sustainable investment solutions under the “Futura” label, which have proven to be very popular. They currently account for 72% of the total volume of the Raiffeisen funds. In 2020, Raiffeisen received the Refinitiv Lipper Funds Award in the “Overall Small” category for the performance of its entire fund family and for the good company-wide performance of its fund products. Raiffeisen will continue to invest in the expansion of its sustainable investment solutions and in the future will take sustainability aspects into consideration in all investment solutions. The specific approach was defined in the adopted retirement and investing sustainability strategy.

Strong growth in asset management mandates

In the current year, market activity was characterised by significant fluctuations. The advantages of managed investment solutions became abundantly clear, especially in this environment. Professional portfolio management and a robust investment process ensure that the portfolios are invested to reflect the Raiffeisen investment view at all times. The advantages of asset management were also reflected in the development of the asset management mandates, which more than doubled in 2020.

«Raiffeisen Rio»: digital asset management successfully launched

In autumn 2020, Raiffeisen expanded its offer in the investment business with the digital asset management solution “Raiffeisen Rio”. Raiffeisen’s Rio smartphone app allows investments from CHF 5,000 and as a result offers broad access to professional investment know-how. Together with the individual selection of focus topics and daily news on financial markets and the portfolio, “Raiffeisen Rio” offers clients a new digital investment experience. “Raiffeisen Rio” was awarded Bronze in the “Business Impact” category at the Best of Swiss Apps Award 2020. A savings plan feature will be added to “Raiffeisen Rio” in 2021.

Advisory mandates launched

Shortly before the end of 2020, Raiffeisen launched the advisory mandates as an addition to the existing offer. These are ideal for investors who want their portfolio to be monitored on a regular basis and who appreciate consulting with an adviser, but who want to make their investment decisions themselves. The advisory mandate allows clients to select their personal investment focus, define the investment objective and benefit from Raiffeisen analyses, market assessments and recommendations.

Financing grows in line with the market

Mortgage loans grew by 2.7%, in line with the rest of the market. The persistently low interest rate level once again led to great demand for mortgage financing, which grew to CHF 190.3 billion.

In addition, there is an increasing focus on renewable energies. Raiffeisen is actively involved in the Swiss Office of Energy’s “Renewable Heating” campaign and has integrated an energy property assessment with its financing advisory services so that clients can get an initial evaluation based on energy efficiency classes – much like the GEAK® energy performance certificate. This is used as the basis for working together with property owners to develop long-term renovation strategies and their financing.

SARON successfully introduced

SARON has established itself as the most important reference interest rate in CHF and will replace the LIBOR at the end of 2021. In April 2020, Raiffeisen was the first national Swiss bank to launch SARON-based mortgages and loans and, by the end of 2020, was able to conclude financing for more than 16,000 clients with a volume of more than CHF 8.5 billion. Clients benefit from a new product that is based on a representative, robust and Swiss-managed interest rate. In 2021, additional products based on new reference interest rates will be introduced and Raiffeisen will continue to move forward with the preparations for the replacement of the LIBOR.

Refferal of insurance products

Raiffeisen reffered numerous insurance products for Helvetia in the current year. The demand for pension solutions in the area of risk hedging and the indirect amortisation of mortgages remained stable. The single-premium policy business halved compared to the previous year. The reason for this was the announcement of the strategic partnership with Mobiliar and consequently the termination of the existing sales partnership with Helvetia at the end of 2020.

Mobiliar’s general agencies have been working with Raiffeisen banks since 1 January 2021 to assist clients with all their insurance, pension and financing needs. In future, Raiffeisen and Mobiliar will also develop joint product solutions and services for young clients, corporate clients and SMEs in the form of ecosystems. As a first step, “LIIVA”, a joint platform for homeowners, will be launched in the summer of 2021. The platform aims to comprehensively address the specific needs of residential property owners and enhance the personal advisory service.

Corporate clients

The corporate clients business was able to continue on its growth trajectory in the reporting year. In 2020, the bank acquired more than 7,000 new corporate clients. This growth was primarily attributable to the SME segment, but the market share in larger companies also grew. One out of every three businesses in Switzerland relies on Raiffeisen. This means that, in 2020, more than 209,000 corporate clients relied on Raiffeisen’s expertise. Adjusted for the Covid-19 loans, the lending volume in the corporate clients business increased by CHF 1.3 billion to CHF 40.6 billion. This is primarily due to the solid growth in the mortgage and loan segment.

Support for SMEs during the pandemic

2020 was shaped by the coronavirus pandemic. Raiffeisen was heavily involved in developing the federal government’s lending programme. There were just three weeks between the first discussions with leading Swiss banks and the federal agencies and the payment of the first Covid-19 loan. The Covid-19 loan programme to support SMEs commenced at the end of March with numerous applications and a high volume. In the initial phase, Raiffeisen processed up to 4,000 applications per day across the Group. These applications were processed and the loan amount paid within 30 minutes. By the end of the temporary support programme, the Raiffeisen Group had approved over 24,000 Covid-19 loans with a total volume of CHF 2 billion. Raiffeisen also participated in the support programme for cases of hardship, which were approved by the Federal Assembly in the autumn session of 2020. An specially appointed, internally-staffed Raiffeisen Covid Task Force was in constant contact with the cantonal bodies and was tasked with ensuring that internal implementation measures to process hardship credit solutions were in place in 2020.

The Raiffeisen Business Owner Centre (RUZ) also responded quickly during the crisis. The RUZ launched a coronavirus platform with a hotline and live events that companies could access for information on corporate issues relating to the coronavirus and which offered SMEs free liquidity and success planning. The knowhow provided by the specialists, all of whom have a business background, provides significant added value in the advisory process.

Optimised lending processes

The intoduction of the unsecured loan concept in the previous year was implemented at the operational level in 2020. Of particular note is also the introduction of the new viability methods, which were greatly simplified and standardised. They have a different structure depending on the amount and make the credit process noticeably easier, particularly in the retail client segment. In the future, Raiffeisen will make the back-office processes even more client-friendly for its corporate clients and eliminate more administrative barriers. Our focus is on making life easier for business owners.

New tools for corporate clients

In 2020 Raiffeisen successfully introduced the QR bill in payment transactions. The successful introduction was based on a comprehensive information campaign and intensive support for our corporate clients in this process.

In addition, Raiffeisen also expanded its “eBill” service with “eBill for Business”. “eBill for Business” is Switzerland’s digital bill for corporate clients in the current year. Moreover, Raiffeisen joined together with its cooperation partner Worldline | SIX Payment Services to introduce a new payment terminals solution for corporate clients that complements the existing e-commerce offer and responds to the trend towards cashless payment.

In the same year, Raiffeisen received the coveted STP Awards (Straight Through Processing Awards) from the two biggest US banks, which recognised Raiffeisen as the world’s best bank for flawless payments in US dollars.

Strong leasing transaction business

The leasing transaction business continued to gain in importance. The portfolio volume was able to continue the positive trend of the past few years with growth of 13%. Raiffeisen is one of the largest providers in Switzerland in the capital goods leasing segment. This allows us to help our corporate clients conserve their cash compared to traditional financing solutions. As part of the process optimisation, in 2020 over 7,000 leasing contracts and over 45,000 credit documents were migrated to a digital database.

Better foreign access

International business and international networks are extremely important to many of our corporate clients. Raiffeisen successfully established a partnership with Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) in Vienna that makes it easier for SMEs in Switzerland to do business with Eastern European clients. As a result, Raiffeisen can offer its corporate clients favourable indirect guarantees for business in Eastern Europe and other countries.

Insurance for corporate clients

The strategic partnership with Mobiliar also extends to the corporate clients business. This collaboration allowed Raiffeisen to close another gap in its service offer for corporate insurances. Raiffeisen can now offer an even broader range of services to meet client needs by integrating Mobiliar into the offer process.

Treasury & Markets

Within Raiffeisen, the Treasury & Markets department is responsible for the management, intra-Group transfer and procurement of liquidity. It ensures access to the financial markets and, as a centre of competence, it offers financial market products and services across the Group.

As the central control unit, Treasury & Markets ensures access to the capital market, centralised liquidity risk management and sustainable refinancing, as well as hedging interest rate and currency risks for the Raiffeisen Group. Treasury & Markets is a service provider for precious metals, foreign exchange, securities and structured products within the cooperative union.

Treasury & Markets supplies the Raiffeisen Group with cash in CHF and foreign currencies from more than 100 countries from its own cash centre. The cash logistics service does not just deliver to Raiffeisen banks, it can also be used as a cash home delivery service that allows clients to securely and conveniently order banknotes to be delivered to their home. A higher than average number of clients made use of this offer in Raiffeisen e-banking during the pandemic in 2020 in.

In addition, advising Raiffeisen banks on balance sheet structure management as well as support in foreign exchange transactions and with the sale of structured products are important Treasury & Markets functions.

Active player in the Swiss capital market

Raiffeisen succeeded in solidifying its position in the Swiss bond market in 2020. Raiffeisen successfully took on the role of lead manager to support several public sector issuers as well as companies with their bond issues in CHF. As the joint-lead manager for the Swiss Pfandbriefbank, Raiffeisen placed a substantial share of the issue volume with institutional investors.

First digital bond issue

The digital capital market platform launched in 2019 and developed by Valyo Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Raiffeisen Switzerland, carried out its first bond issue in mid-2020. This makes Valyo the first fintech to place a listed bond completely digitally. In September, this was followed by the first issue by an SMI company with a Swisscom bond. The entire issue process, from the entry of the transaction through to due diligence, book building, contract processing, settlement and listing the bond, is completely digitalised on the Valyo platform. The platform makes the issue process more streamlined, efficient and transparent for issuers and investors.

Bail-in bonds issue

In October 2020, Raiffeisen was the first national, systematically important bank to issue two bail-in bonds in CHF. Bail-in capital is issued to build up additional loss-absorbing funds.

Second rating

In September, Raiffeisen received a second rating by Standard & Poor’s (A+/A-1) in addition to the Moody’s rating (A3/Aa3). This additional rating will enhance access to institutional investors and broaden the investor base. The very good rating by Standard & Poor’s will support Raiffeisen Switzerland’s ability to place bonds under more attractive conditions.

Structured products

The low interest rate level and the market turbulence in the spring of 2020 created a challenging environment. Unfazed by the price corrections, many investors made additional purchases of structured products, which turned out to be a good decision in view of the positive development of the markets over the course of the year. Raiffeisen’s position as one of the top 5 providers of investment products on the Swiss market was further reinforced in 2020. Raiffeisen ended the year ranked number 1 in the yield enhancement products segment. Raiffeisen offers over 2,000 outstanding products aimed at private clients as well as professional investors. Transparency and, in particular, the transfer of know-how to the end client are top priorities at Raiffeisen, which was compensated with the “Top Service” award at the “Swiss Derivative Awards 2020”.