Management Report

Business model

Raiffeisen’s cooperative model is unique in the Swiss banking sector. It has allowed Raiffeisen and its now over 11,000 employees to grow successfully for over 120 years. Despite its age and an eventful history, the business model is as sound as ever and stands for stability. Raiffeisen connects people. The regional roots and proximity to the customer are the basis of our successful operation and allow us to create added value for clients, members, employees, the environment and society. As a cooperative, Raiffeisen holds traditional values that have once again become increasingly important in this fast-paced world.

Cooperative and values

Raiffeisen’s history is based on the idea of helping people help themselves which originated in the mid-19th century, as many small businesses and tradespeople joined together to form voluntary cooperations as a way to mitigate their economic disadvantage compared to large industrial companies. The idea of the cooperative was born. Its namesake Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen laid the foundation for the cooperative bank by gathering together the money of the local community in the form of savings deposits and then lending it out again locally under favourable conditions against collateral.

The first Raiffeisen bank in Switzerland was founded in Bichelsee in the canton of Thurgau in 1899. In over 120 years, Raiffeisen has grown to become the third-largest banking group in Switzerland. Today, 1.9 million members of the cooperative determine as co-owners the journey of their bank. The cooperative values have stayed the same: solidarity, democracy and liberality. A microcosm of Switzerland.

Democracy

Joint ownership and participation – where every member has a vote – is the democratic essence of the cooperative. Decisions are reached democratically.

Solidarity

Mutual support and joint and several liability are a fundamental tenet of the cooperative. Ultimately, solidarity only works based on mutual trust.

Liberality

Helping people help themselves is one of the key principles of liberality. Taking the initiative in a self-determined manner to tackle a challenge together with like-minded people as well as autonomous decision-making and organising – these are liberal values that also establish the foundation of a successful cooperative company.

Credibility, sustainability, proximity and entrepreneurship are fundamental values that distinguish our company. They were developed together in collaboration with the entire organisation and shape our cooperative.

Credibility

We do what we say and keep our promises. We are credible in that our actions are reliable and consistent, and we reach transparent decisions. We communicate honestly and precisely as determined by the current conditions.

Sustainability

We take care to ensure the longevity of our business model. We strive to form and maintain sustainable relationships with cooperative members, clients, employees and business partners. We take responsibility in business and society and take care of the environment.

Proximity

We have a local/regional focus, are entrenched in the local population and integrate into the local market. We know and understand our clients and provide professional advice to their specific needs. We have short decision-making paths.

Entrepreneurship

We take responsibility for our actions at all levels. We act independently and responsibly. We are enterprising in that we take advantage of opportunities for development and take a targeted and responsible approach to risks.

Structure and governance

Each of the 225 Raiffeisen banks is a legally and organisationally independent cooperative with directly elected banking authorities. The members of the cooperative are the owners of each bank. Their share certificate also makes them co-owners. Raiffeisen Switzerland takes over the strategic management of the entire Raiffeisen Group and creates the framework conditions for the business activities of the Raiffeisen banks, advising and supporting them in all matters. Raiffeisen Switzerland is responsible for risk management, liquidity and capital ratios and refinancing for the entire Group and takes on treasury, trading and transaction activities in the role of a Central Bank.

The exchange and formation of opinions between the Raiffeisen banks and Raiffeisen Switzerland are essential for the entire Group. To continue supporting the collaboration, Raiffeisen established a new governance in 2019. An important part of this are the owners’ committees: the Raiffeisen Bank Council, the Expert Coordination Committees and the expert committees. They were set up in the past year and have taken up their activities. The owner strategy brings together the interests, positions and expectations of the owners in relation to Raiffeisen Switzerland. Raiffeisen Switzerland is responsible for the strategic management of the Group, which is defined by the Board of Directors of Raiffeisen Switzerland as part of the Group strategy.

More about the structure and governance of the Raiffeisen Group: “Corporate governance”.

Markets, clients and services

Raiffeisen is focussed on the Swiss market. With a total of 824 branches, Raiffeisen has a branch network that is denser than any other in Switzerland. The availability of Raiffeisen has remained unchanged for ten years: over 90% of the Swiss population can reach a Raiffeisen bank within a 10-minute drive. Raiffeisen is the third-largest player in the Swiss domestic market and number 1 in real estate financing. Almost one in every five mortgages in Switzerland originates from Raiffeisen.

Raiffeisen is a market leader in the retail business. 41% of the Swiss population are clients. We are the main bank for more than half of over 3.6 million of our clients. We also have roughly 209,000 corporate clients, which are another important client base. This means that one in every three businesses in Switzerland benefit from our solutions and tailored advice.

Raiffeisen’s strong local roots are complemented by digital solutions and a hybrid business model. Clients can choose which services they wish to use and on which channel.

More about the continued development of offers and services: “Continued development of products and services”.