Enhancing the products for clients – focus on the digital customer experience
As part of the Raiffeisen 2025 strategy, Raiffeisen is investing substantial sums in further expanding its digital channels. It is striving to create a seamless interaction between digital channels and personal points of contact. Clients should be able to choose how they want to interact with Raiffeisen. Raiffeisen aims to develop an application by the end of 2025 that will bundle all its digital services into one self-service platform. A beta version of the new application has been available since the end of 2022. Functionalities will be added to the app on an ongoing basis, with a complete, modern e-banking solution available by the end of 2025.
Payments: products and solutions
Accounts and cards form the basis for payment processing. Raiffeisen also offers a range of channels and solutions to enable its clients to make payments efficiently at home and abroad. These include e-banking, Twint, various credit and debit cards and, for the past few months, the QR bill.
E-banking – the most frequently used interaction channel
Raiffeisen completed the gradual introduction of the new login in the course of the year under review. The new login will enable Raiffeisen to meet the increased security requirements. Raiffeisen clients can also use the new login to access other digital Raiffeisen services, such as Raiffeisen Rio, MemberPlus, the stock exchange application and the digital pillar 3a.
Raiffeisen Twint sees continued success
In August 2022, Twint exceeded the 5 million users mark. This shows how popular the Swiss digital payment solution is. With over 1 million registered users and an active use rate of over 80 %, Raiffeisen’s Twint app also continues to be successful. Jointly with Twint AG, the digital marketplace available via the Twint+ button in the app is constantly being expanded with attractive offers. In addition to the popular use cases, such as the easy payment of parking fees, donating money, buying digital vouchers, a comparison service for mobile phone and internet subscriptions is also available.
New debit cards with enhanced functions
Distribution of the new Visa debit card started at the beginning of 2022 for all Raiffeisen clients and, from spring 2022, the new debit Mastercard. They replace the previous V PAY and Maestro debit cards. Along with the tried and tested functionalities, the new cards also have an e-commerce function and so can be used for online shopping. The cards will be replaced on a rolling basis, with completion scheduled for 2025.
QR bill replaces payment slips
Switzerland as a financial centre has been harmonising and digitalising the Swiss payment system for several years. The different payment procedures used by the financial institutions have been standardised. The QR bill was introduced in mid-2020, shortly followed by the eBill. Raiffeisen has aligned its payment transaction systems and channels with the seamless digitalised payment of bills. The final switch to QR bills was made at the end of September 2022. Red and orange payment slips were discontinued.
Pensions and investments: professional advice
and sustainable solutions
The pension and investment business is a particularly important pillar of the Raiffeisen 2025 strategy. The intention is to continue strengthening and expanding this business. The focus is on clients and their financial needs. Raiffeisen is aiming to provide all its clients with easy access to pension and investment solutions – both in person and digitally.
Retirement provision is a concern of clients
For Raiffeisen, it is important to provide comprehensive support for clients in their personal financial planning, always keeping the essentials and long-term financial goals in sight. Raiffeisen has been using the Raiffeisen Pension Barometer for five years to survey the Swiss population’s sentiments regarding retirement planning. It shows clearly that the issue of retirement provision is one of the greatest concerns across the generations. There is a great need among people in Switzerland for solutions that will allow them to make sufficient provision for their retirement. Yet at the same time, Raiffeisen found that there is insufficient knowledge about the financial options for retirement planning. This may also be one of the reasons why many people do not give enough thought, if any, to their retirement planning. Because of this, Raiffeisen has invested in developing the expertise of its advisors in recent years and has made efforts to increase the financial knowledge of its clients. The discussions surrounding the pension funds’ reform plans, especially the increase in the retirement age for women, have shown that women in particular have specific questions and requirements regarding their pension planning. The 4,500 or so registrations for the online event “Women & Pensions” in September 2022 confirm that this topic generates interest.
Comprehensive financial advisory services
Consistent with its reinforced positioning as the leading firm for all issues relating to financial provision, Raiffeisen continues to broaden the expertise of its pension, retirement and inheritance planning specialists across the Group. This is to meet the rising demand for comprehensive advice on pension issues.
Popular pension products and solutions
The digital pillar 3a that was launched in autumn 2021 was optimised and enhanced in 2022. A key milestone was integration of the newly launched index-tracking pension funds. Irrespective of the pillar 3a channel, pension recipients thus have a range of actively managed and index-tracking pension funds to choose from.
Saving and investing: ideal for long-term
Despite the changing interest rate environment with rising interest rates, investing remains key to asset accumulation over the long term. A combination of saving and investing makes more sense in the long term and opens up a lot of leeway for investors.
Growth in customer deposits
Fund range aligned with sustainability
Asset management with two new mandate lines
For investors who appreciate dialogue with the advisor but would like to make their own investment decisions, Raiffeisen has introduced another advisory mandate called “Portfolio Plus” and expanded the range of products. Portfolio Plus enables investors to be informed directly about trends or optimisation potential in the portfolio, or to benefit from research analyses.
Another new feature, sustainability reporting, provides investors with an overview of how sustainably their assets are invested. In addition to the sustainability ratings of the individual investments, the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the fixed assets are also reported. The sustainability reporting shows what contribution the fixed assets make to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (SDGs).
Home and financing:
optimal support for home owners
Raiffeisen is the national market leader in home financing. The banking group has steadily expanded its market position in the home and financing segment in recent years by adding to its range of solutions: search, buy, finance, renovate, sell. In a focused development of the mortgage business, Raiffeisen intends to set itself apart through comprehensive home ownership advice as well as bank and related solutions. In doing so, it is increasingly relying on its own digital channels.
Raiffeisen intends to expand its digital presence in the home and financing segment. It is investing in enhancing its home and real estate portal RaiffeisenCasa for this purpose. This home portal is intended to supplement personal home ownership advice and create a comprehensive customer experience. In this context, Raiffeisen decided to sell its stake in the Liiva home ownership platform to its cooperation partner “die Mobiliar”, which already held half of the shares in the platform until now.
In order to strengthen its service in its core business, Raiffeisen is continuing to expand its advisory capacity by investing in efficient processes. It is pressing ahead with digitalisation of the mortgage process as well as simple self-service procedures.
Strong mortgage business
The change in the interest rate environment has led to Saron mortgages attracting much interest from clients. They are currently more popular than fixed-rate mortgages. Libor mortgages are no longer offered since Saron was introduced in the spring of 2020.
Developments on the energy market and the widespread increases in electricity prices have a direct impact on the residents of Switzerland. This leads to private home owners taking a greater interest in the energy efficiency of their property and becoming more aware in this regard.
Raiffeisen integrated the energy efficiency evaluation of properties into its advisory services as early as 2015. Raiffeisen supports the Renewable Heating promotion programme, which assists home owners in switching to renewable energy. It uses its market position to point clients to the free offer of professional incentive consulting as part of the campaign “Renewable heating incentive consulting”, thus supporting them in the switch to renewable energy.
After two years, cooperation with our partner “die Mobiliar” has been consolidated and taken root. The focus is on local cooperation between the 220 Raiffeisen banks and 80 Mobiliar general agencies, which have been working together in the market since the start of the collaboration by brokering banking, pension and insurance products. The number of life insurance policies taken out increased by more than 30% in the year under review, which is more than satisfactory in a stagnating market environment. In addition to the single-premium policy business, the risk insurance policies offered as part of our individual pension advisory service also contributed to this. The number of policies taken out for property insurance and in the corporate client business also increased by more than half.
Corporate client business expanded
The complete solution for multibanking-enabled payments and efficient cash management is highly popular among corporate clients. Through Raiffeisen SME eServices, Raiffeisen gained more new clients in 2022. Corporate clients are impressed by the customisable user interface and the simplicity of liquidity management. In addition, the high level of protection against cyber attacks covers another important client need. The dashboard has built-in aids for easy liquidity monitoring, planning and management, and can be configured to suit individual needs.
Two market leaders in the commercial vehicle and agricultural machinery sectors decided to partner with Raiffeisen, following nationwide invitations to tender and detailed evaluations of various leasing providers. As a result of these partnerships, customers of these brands can be served with a financing proposal from Raiffeisen throughout Switzerland, both directly and through all the dealers.
Raiffeisen Business Owner Centre (RUZ)
Raiffeisen brings together its support for companies in issues beyond the traditional banking business in its Business Owner Centre (Raiffeisen Unternehmerzentrum, RUZ). The advisors, all of whom are or have been business owners themselves, provide practical and comprehensive support for other business owners. They focus on the four core topics of Strategy & Business Models, Leadership & Communication, Financing Support, and Succession.
As the central control unit, Treasury & Markets ensures access to the capital market, centralised liquidity management and sustainable refinancing, as well as hedging interest rate and currency risks for the Raiffeisen Group. Treasury & Markets is the service provider for precious metals, foreign exchange, securities and structured products within the cooperative union.
Treasury & Markets supplies the Raiffeisen Group with cash in Swiss francs 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 by clients for cash home delivery. This service is available via e-banking, allowing clients to order bank notes in Swiss francs or foreign currencies to be delivered safely and conveniently to their home address. This service was in great demand in the year under review, Compared to 2021, foreign currency orders more than doubled.
The other main tasks of Treasury & Markets include advising Raiffeisen banks on balance sheet structure management. As the SNB normalised its monetary policy, Treasury & Markets supported the Raiffeisen banks in balance sheet management with now positive interest rates. Raiffeisen banks can also count on the expertise of Treasury & Markets in foreign exchange transactions and in the sale of structured products.
Raiffeisen succeeded in further consolidating its position in the Swiss bond market as the fourth-largest lead manager in 2022. Raiffeisen successfully took on the role of lead manager to support several public-sector issuers as well as corporates with their bond issues in Swiss francs. As the joint-lead manager for the Swiss Pfandbriefbank, Raiffeisen placed a substantial share of the issue volume with institutional investors.
The Raiffeisen Group again benefited from the very good ratings awarded by the rating agencies Standard & Poor’s (A+/A-1/stable) and Fitch (A+/F1/stable). These ratings, obtained in 2020 and 2021 respectively, mean that Raiffeisen is in an excellent position on both the national and international money and capital markets.
In November 2022, “Raiffeisen ETF – Solid Gold Responsibly Sourced & Traceable A USD” won the Swiss ETF Award 2023 in the category “Newcomer of the Year”. This category recognises products that represent genuine innovation by making certain investment segments accessible to Swiss investors for the first time via ETFs. This award for the ETF launched in the previous year, on physically deposited, traceable gold from responsible mining, is confirmation of the strategy implemented by Raiffeisen to strengthen the sustainability of its products and services.
Demand for structured products declined somewhat in 2022 due to market conditions. The negative interest rates in the first nine months of the year and the performance of the equity markets primarily favoured yield enhancement products. There was both a trend to defensive structures with low coupons and buoyant demand for high-yield structures. As interest rates rose, interest in the now more attractive capital protection products also increased.
The assessment of the underlying assets of structured products with regard to ESG criteria is carried out by the independent Swiss sustainability rating agency Inrate. In the case of structured products that meet the sustainability criteria of the Raiffeisen Futura label, Raiffeisen regularly checks compliance with the Futura criteria throughout the product’s lifetime.
As part of the strategic strengthening of the pension and investment business, Raiffeisen has set up its own issuance platform for structured products, “Raiffeisen Structify”. In the future, Raiffeisen will be able to issue, hedge and sell some of its structured products itself, thus covering the entire value chain. Raiffeisen launched and issued the first fully proprietary product via the “Raiffeisen Structify” platform in November 2022. The platform will be gradually established at the Raiffeisen banks from mid-2023. With “Raiffeisen Structify”, client advisors will be able to issue customised structured products from Raiffeisen directly on the bank’s own platform.