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02.04.2008

Demonstrating personal solidarity through banking transactions:
Bank Austria's "BetriebsService" social fund pays out more than 1 million euros

  • Bank Austria's "Betriebservice" is represented in 4,100 companies across Austria
  • 5 euros per transaction go to the social fund, resulting in up to 80,000 euros in new funding every year
  • Proactive expression of solidarity

Disbursements by Bank Austria's "BetriebsService" Club welfare fund have passed the magic 1 million euros mark, as proudly announced today at a joint press conference by Erich Hampel, Bank Austria CEO and Wolfgang Katzian, Chairman of the Gewerkschaft der Privatangestellten, Austria's private sector, white-collar workers' union. This sum corresponds to around 830 individual awards to needy employees since the fund was established in 1995. "Every stakeholder wins with the BetriebsService support model – the Works Council members, the bank and our customers in the companies, who are able to proactively express their personal solidarity with every transaction," says Bank Austria CEO Erich Hampel. "BetriebsService's commitment impressively highlights the diversity of corporate stakeholder policy. There is significantly more to Works Council work than most people imagine. In this case it's a question of providing specific help for colleagues in difficult personal circumstances. It's a proactive expression of solidarity," explains the Chairman of the Gewerkschaft der Privatangestellten, Druck, Journalismus, Papier (GDA-DJP), Wolfgang Katzian, whose union represents private sector, white-collar workers and those employed in printing, journalism and the paper industry.

Creation dates back to cooperation between Vienna City Council and Z
BetriebsService came about more than three decades ago in a customer department of what was formerly Zentralsparkasse, starting with close cooperation with Vienna City Council, and gradually extending to private-sector businesses. Although it may have been payroll accounts that were primarily offered to firms in the beginning, the business took on a new aspect when the popular BetriebsratsKredit was introduced in 1978. Länderbank and Creditanstalt did similar business, but on a lesser scale. Bank Austria's BetriebsService Club assumed its current appearance in the mid-1990s. Since then the welfare fund has been its central component.

Bank Austria's BetriebsService is currently represented in around 4,100 companies throughout Austria and has approximately 9,500 contact persons at its disposal. Depending on the product group BetriebsService is of great importance to Bank Austria's retail business, with almost half the consumer credit volume and considerably more than one tenth of ErfolgsCard savings being generated via this sales channel.

Impressively simple idea – performance-orientated management
"The concept behind BetriebsService's welfare fund is impressively simple. Five euros go to the welfare fund for every transaction, whether it's a home loan and savings contract or a loan," explains Hampel. Every year the fund gains between 60,000 and 80,000 euros in fresh finance this way. Applications for welfare for colleagues needing assistance are submitted in writing by members of the BetriebsService Club, describing the misfortune that has befallen the people in question, and their financial circumstances. The decision is then taken by the BetriebsService Club manager or a committee, depending on the level of assistance required.

"I extend my thanks to our business customers, our contacts and BetriebsService employees. It is their faith and commitment that have made this wonderful aid project possible," says Bank Austria CEO Erich Hampel. Leaving aside the well-worn clichés, this fund typifies Austria's tried-and-tested tradition of social partnership.

"It is impossible to value the varied commitment by Works Council members highly enough, particularly at a time when pressure on employees is constantly increasing. Day after day there are many examples in the media, the discount business being one, of why the lack of representation of company interests is significant. One thing is clear to me – the stronger a Works Council is, the better it is for the employees. In this case this is also demonstrated by the provision of impressive material assistance," adds GPA-DJP Chairman Katzian.

Further information can be found at: http://betriebsservice.bankaustria.at

Enquiries: Bank Austria Pressestelle Österreich (Austrian Press Office)
 Martin Halama, Tel. +43 (0) 50505 52371
 E-mail: martin.halama@unicreditgroup.at