ANNUAL REPORT Business Results of Volksbank CZ, a.s.

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1 ANNUAL REPORT 2011 Business Results of Volksbank CZ, a.s. 1

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3 CONTENTS FOREWORD FROM THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS 3 KEY FIGURES IN SUMMARY 4 INTERNATIONAL NETWORK 5 GOVERNING BODIES 6 ORGANISATION CHART 9 GENERAL ECONOMIC BACKGROUND 10 BUSINESS ACTIVITIES 12 RISK MANAGEMENT 20 OTHER INFORMATIONS 25 FINANCIAL STATEMENTS 35 Statement of Comprehensive Income 37 Statement of Financial Position 38 Statement of Changes in Equity 39 Statement of Cash Flow 40 Notes to the Financial Statements 43 Quantitative Indices 103 Report of Relations 104 Report of Independent Auditors 106 Report of the Supervisory Board 108 SERVICE 109 Our Network 110 Annual Report is interactive. Upon clicking on an item in the table of contents you will taken to the appropriate page. Upon clicking on a page number anywhere in the Annual Report you will be taken back to the table of contents. 1

4 BOARD OF DIRECTORS Pavol Komzala Frank Guthan Andreas Vögerl Libor Holub 2

5 FOREWORD FROM THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Clients, Business Partners and Shareholders, Volksbank CZ reconfirmed its growth trend in 2011, thus building upon the successful previous year which had marked an end to temporary slowing of the Bank s growth under the influence of economic crisis in the domestic and world economies. The business results from 2011 verify that Volksbank CZ is a stable bank and that its key indicators are still growing. The Bank s profit increased year on year by 28% to a record figure of more than CZK 440 million before tax (CZK 346 million after tax). Total assets approached CZK 52 billion, which means a 5% gain year on year. The volume of client deposits (incl. debt securities in issue) expanded in 2011 by 6% to close the year at CZK 36.8 billion. Volksbank CZ s loan portfolio was developing at approximately the same rate, and at the end of the year it surpassed CZK 41.6 billion. The Bank s capital adequacy is continuously maintained above 13%, which provides us with sufficient scope for further growth. The past year also represented the start of a new era for Volksbank, an era marked by the backing of a strong new owner. On 8 September 2011, a contract was signed for sale of Austria s Volksbank International (VBI), the parent company of Volksbank CZ, to Russia s Sberbank. Sberbank completed the process of acquiring Volksbank International on 15 February 2012 by the final transfer of shareholder rights. We perceive this change of owner as positive news. Our new partner is one of the most important European banks. With a profit of CZK 250 billion in 2011, Sberbank maintains a network of almost 20,000 branches. Its economic strength and strategic objectives ensure the further successful development of Volksbank CZ. Sberbank s immense financial resources assure support of credit expansion and will allow executing transactions in dimensions that heretofore have not been possible for Volksbank CZ. The strong corporate client base of Sberbank brings the possibility to build on synergies ensuing from its knowledge of the Russian market, and thus to participate in financing trade between Czech and Russian companies. We see the change of owner as an opportunity to enhance the quality of our current services, offer further innovations, expand the range of new products, focus in on new customer segments and continue to provide our clients with the highest quality service. Volksbank CZ intends to be a strategic and long-term partner to all its clients, and we would like to thank them for their cooperation in the past year. Libor Holub Andreas Vögerl Frank Guthan Pavol Komzala 3

6 KEY FIGURES IN SUMMARY CZK million Total assets 51,790 49,334 47,598 47,784 36,448 Capital adequacy 13.22% 14.20% 15.46% 13.95% 12.57% Liabilities to clients, including debt securities in issue 36,816 34,779 30,170 27,155 23,685 Receivables from clients 41,611 39,147 38,093 39,059 30,161 Income on financial transactions before provisions and allowances 1,678 1,595 1,488 1,750 1,342 Operating expenses Profit on ordinary activities before tax Profit for the year Number of employees* Number of points of sale * including employees on maternity leave TOTAL ASSETS CZK billion Profit on ordinary activities after tax CZK million CLIENT DEPOSITS CZK billion LOANS TO CLIENTS CZK billion

7 INTERNATIONAL NETWORK Volksbank CZ has prospered in the Czech market since The Bank s main shareholder is Volksbank International AG. Volksbank International AG (VBI) is headquartered in Vienna, Austria. As from 15 February 2012, its sole owner is the Russian bank Sberbank. VBI manages a successful and steadily expanding network including nearly 300 branches of 9 banks in 8 countries within Central and Eastern Europe (CEE): Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Ukraine. SHAREHOLDER STRUCTURE OF VOLKSBANK CZ, A.S. BY PROPORTION OF TOTAL SHARE CAPITAL AS AT 31 DECEMBER 2011 Volksbank International AG, Vienna % Banca Popolare di Vicenza S.C.P.A., Vicenza 0.935% EM.RO Popolare S.P.A., Modena 0.935% 5

8 GOVERNING BODIES SUPERVISORY BOARD CHAIRMAN Dr. Friedhelm BOSCHERT Chairman of the Supervisory Board Appointed on: 24 April 2008 Experience: 24 years of banking experience, 17 years of management experience Membership on other companies bodies: Volksbank International AG, Austria: Chairman of the Board of Directors; Magyarországi Volksbank Zrt., Hungary: Chairman of the Supervisory Board; Bosnia and Herzegovina: Chairman of the Supervisory Board; VB-Holding AG, Austria: Member of the Supervisory Board; Volksbank-Invest GmbH, Austria: Member of the Supervisory Board; Vienna Economic Forum, Austria: Member of the Board of Directors VIVH AG, Austria: Member of the Supervisory Board; Victoria Osiguranje d.d., Croatia: Member of the Supervisory Board; Volksbank Rumänien, Romania: Chairman of the Supervisory Board; Honorarkonsul der Regierung von Bosnien und Herzegowina, Bosnia and Herzegovina: consul VICE-CHAIRMAN Peter TÖTZER Vice-Chairman of the Supervisory Board Appointed on: 27 April 2011 Experience: 16 years of banking experience, 5 years of management experience Membership on other companies bodies: Volksbank Slovakia, Slovakia: member of the Supervisory Board; Volksbank Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina: member of the Supervisory Board SUPERVISORY BOARD MEMBERS Gabriele UGOLINI Member of the Supervisory Board Appointed on: 24 April 2008 Experience: 38 years of banking experience, 26 years of management experience No membership on other companies bodies. Mag. Peter SZENKURÖK Member of the Supervisory Board Appointed on: 24 April 2008 Experience: 17 years of banking experience, 11 years of management experience No membership on other companies bodies. Ing. Igor DOBŘICKÝ Member of the Supervisory Board Appointed on: 25 June 2009 Experience: 14 years of banking experience, 7 years of management experience No membership on other companies bodies. Ing. Luboš VLČEK Member of the Supervisory Board Appointed on: 18 February 2010 Experience: 14 years of banking experience, 19 years of management experience No membership on other companies bodies. 6

9 BOARD OF DIRECTORS CHAIRMAN Ing. Libor HOLUB Chairman of the Board of Directors Appointed on: 29 September 2010 Experience: 10 years of banking experience, 17 years of management experience No membership on other companies bodies. MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS Frank GUTHAN Member of the Board of Directors Appointed on: 1 March 2009 Experience: 19 years of banking experience, 17 years of management experience No membership on other companies bodies. Andreas VÖGERL Member of the Board of Directors Appointed on: 15 June 2010 Experience: 29 years of banking experience, 29 years of management experience No membership on other companies bodies. Ing. Pavol KOMZALA Member of the Board of Directors Appointed on: 1 September 2010 Experience: 17 years of banking experience, 9 years of management experience No membership on other companies bodies. 7

10 MISSION WE OFFER MODERN BANKING THAT S EASY TO COMPREHEND. Given the complex jargon of our highly specialised sector, we translate into our clients language so they better understand the banking services we offer. Whether retail or corporate clients, the better they understand, the better and more responsible decisions our clients are able to make regarding their financial futures. 8

11 ORGANISATION CHART 9

12 GENERAL ECONOMIC BACKGROUND MACROECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC IN 2011 Czech economy decelerating The Czech economy grew by 1.70% in 2011, which was significantly slower than the previous year s growth rate of 2.2%. Despite a positive start to 2011, the country s economy gradually lost steam during the year. The economic recovery, which was driven particularly by net exports in the first half of 2011, gave ground to rather sharp deceleration through the remainder of the year. Neither household consumption nor government spending contributed to growth in gross domestic product, as year-on-year decline in both these categories gradually deepened over the course of Hence, it was not surprising that particularly government sector outlays and the government s implementation of austerity measures reflected very negatively in the Czech economy s performance in the last two quarters of Despite a certain dynamism in industry and construction during the last quarter of 2011, which was largely attributable to one-off factors and a planned VAT adjustment, the final growth in gross domestic product for 2011 was less than generally expected. No dramatic turnaround can be expected for Particularly due to expected decline in economic activity within the euro zone and, above all, for our largest trading partner, Germany, gross domestic product in the Czech economy will come in at a near zero rate of growth. The unemployment rate fluctuated just below the 9% level during Despite the deteriorating condition of the Czech economy, the unemployment rate gradually diminished year on year and reached 8.6% in December The forecast for gross domestic product growth in 2012 implies that the unemployment rate can be expected to rise again during the course of the year. This expectation was already confirmed by data published for January 2012, which shows growth in the unemployment rate to 9.1%. Consumer inflation reached 2.40% in Hence, the level of inflation was marginally above the inflation target set by the Czech National Bank. The greatest share in inflation growth was represented by food prices and the end-of-year VAT adjustments which they reflected, and then by regulated prices, fuel prices, and also the Czech crown s weaker exchange rate. On the other hand, the low wage growth and continuing weak domestic demand had a dampening influence on inflationary development. As indicated by data from the first two months of 2012, consumer inflation should fluctuate above the CNB s inflation target for most of the year. As it will be purged of one-off influences, however, core inflation should remain within the CNB inflation target. Industrial production grew by 6,9% year on year in 2011, or by about 3.4 percentage points less than in The slower growth in industrial production was influenced particularly by the development of foreign demand. A moderate upturn occurred in the last quarter of 2011, when foreign orders increased year on year even though domestic orders continued to decline. It is very probable that there will be no significant change in overall demand through the early months of 2012, which will be the main barrier to growth in industrial output. Interest rates and the Czech crown Even though consumer inflation fluctuated slightly above the CNB inflation target, crown-denominated interest rates remained steady through the entire year. Hence, the key two-week repo rate of 0.75% remained unchanged at its historically lowest point ever for more than 20 months. The CNB did not react to interest rate changes in the euro zone, where the European Central Bank gradually raised rates in the first half of 2011, only to reduce them again through the remainder of the year. Even though the first data on inflation from January 2012 indicate significant rise beyond the CNB s inflation target, we do not expect the central bank to boost interest rates in the first half of The Czech crown s exchange rate against the euro developed at expected levels in the first half of In the second half, however, the crown s rate was influenced above all by the escalating debt crisis and investors lack of confidence in Europe and the central European region. Thus, the Czech currency moved beyond the 26 CZK/EUR level at the end of 2011, weakening by nearly 8% within three months. At the beginning of 2012, the crown corrected for the previous weakening and returned to around 25 CZK/EUR. The Czech currency should remain a moderately anti-inflationary factor in 2012, although it will probably not strengthen to levels reached in previous years. 10

13 VISION OUR VISION IS TO BE A TRUSTWORTHY PERSONAL FINANCIAL ADVISOR FOR OUR CLIENTS. Because of our deep understanding and knowledge of their needs, we are able to offer individual solutions that we are confident will help. We are more than just a seller of banking products. We view banking above all as a service that leads to mutual prosperity and growth. We actively listen to clients. We ask them carefully formulated questions in person. Even though we are aware how effective communication can be, our bankers prefer personal meetings. Although we live in a modern world, we continue to be inspired by traditional banking principles. We want to come back to the original sense of personal banking. 11

14 BUSINESS ACTIVITIES CORPORATE CLIENTS For the Corporate Clients sales unit, the year 2011 was marked by continuation in stepwise fulfilment of the targets defined by Volksbank s strategy for the period 2010 to This strategy designates small and medium enterprises as the Bank s target client segment. One of the Bank s main priorities is to grow its client base. Considerable effort was devoted to this objective, supported also by a number of centrally directed marketing activities. The result was a record year in the number of newly acquired clients. All regions participated in this success, which is a promising precondition for further growth in the coming months and years. The Corporate Clients division plays an important part in generating primary deposits for Volksbank, and thus deposit transactions are always a substantial component of annual targets. The year 2011 was again a successful one in this area, and the ambitious values established by the plan were even exceeded. These circumstances had a positive impact on revenues generation, which is the main measurable success factor for sales units. In comparison with the previous year, an increase by 12% was achieved, thus confirming the division s successful annual growth trend. In 2011, great energy was devoted not only to growing staff (as the total number of employees increased by 26%), but also to improving work quality, both internally and especially in relation to clients. Collaboration with a consulting company was initiated in mid-year. The outcomes of the project should be an important factor for ensuring successful development also in the coming years. Several product and process innovations were introduced within the Sales Management Corporate department during 2011, and new activities were prepared to support sales in relation to existing as well as potential clients. The most important changes in the products area include, for example, the introduction of a base interest rate for investment and overdraft loans, a new dual-currency swap deposit product, and broadening of the corporate accounts offer. The most significant changes in internal processes concerned simplifying the completion of loan workflows and reviews. Sales support activities were primarily oriented towards acquiring new clients. RETAIL BANKING Restructuring of the retail branch network was successfully completed in the first quarter of 2011, consisting in discontinuation of the Volksbank SHOP low-cost points of sale project. As part of this process, 21 points of sale were closed and more than 8,000 clients transferred to the appropriate regional branches, which will offer them a full-fledged portfolio of banking services. Termination of this economically ineffective project resulted in a considerable decrease in outlays for the retail sales network. The key priority of retail banking for 2011 was balanced growth in deposits and mortgage loan transactions. During the year, we managed to boost the deposits volume within the Retail division from CZK 14 billion to CZK 15 billion, representing a year-on-year increase of more than 7%. The offer of a six-month term deposit received the greatest response from clients. In the mortgages area, an ambitious target of expanding the volume by 140% fulfilment of the originally budgeted amount was established for the second half of Despite the enormity of this challenge, more than one-half of branches in the retail branch network managed to fulfil the conditions. In 2011, the volume of approved mortgage loans was approximately CZK 2 billion, which represents a year-on-year gain of 78%. A reliable strategy for cooperation with external sales networks and appropriately selected marketing support contributed significantly to this result. The year 2011 was, to a certain extent, influenced also by the more stressful situation caused by negative developments in the European banking sector generally, as well as by the long-ongoing negotiations on the change in ownership of the VBI Group. Closing the agreement to sell VBI to Russia s Sberbank brought to its conclusion the process of implementing our reform strategy, but at the same time these aspects placed greater demands on communicating with clients. 12

15 Mystery shopping of the retail branch network was conducted during March Based on the outputs of these measurements, steps were implemented to improve the quality of work by branch personnel, consisting especially in orientation to high quality advisory and services and the Bank s ability to meet clients individual needs. Control mystery shopping conducted in November 2011 confirmed an increase in the appraisal of our advisory quality by 15 percentage points. Implementation of the so-called Volksbank Club a loyalty programme the aim of which is to stabilise the client portfolio (especially individuals, entrepreneurs and small enterprises) and subsequently to increase transaction business in the retail sales network was initiated in 2011 as part of Volksbank s new client-oriented strategy. We did not succeed, however, in fully integrating this concept, which is to be an integral part of the Bank s advisory-oriented client approach, and thus this remains an important challenge for INTERNATIONAL DESK The three main targets established for the International Desk in 2011 were as follow restructuring of the department to create more effective procedures, stabilising the volume of loans and deposits while halting the negative trend of declining volumes that had begun in mid-2009, and continuing to build up the German Desk created in At the beginning of the year, International Desk personnel was divided into three categories: relationship managers responsible for client care, assistants supporting client consultants, and the new position of credit managers responsible for reviewing and corresponding with loan administration concerning existing credit exposures. The aims of the restructuring were to increase time available for relationship managers selling activities and thereby to generate greater loan and deposit volumes while at the same time monitoring and controlling the department s current credit risk through credit managers. The implementation was successful. At the end of 2011, there was not a single delayed review in the department. This restructuring also made it possible to fulfil the second target, i.e. to stabilise volumes. We managed to halt the decline in volumes and to achieve a net increase of CZK 270 million (ordinary and extraordinary payments). We achieved a CZK 210 million net increase in deposits. Although we did not fulfil the year s plan in the area of loans and deposits, we did succeed to approve loan volume of an additional CZK 294 million by the end of the year. Repayment was partially made in January The German Desk was stabilised, and it achieved a total lending volume of CZK 221 million among clients acquired in A doubling of volumes at the German Desk is planned for The International Desk continues to focus primarily on highly creditworthy clients, which fact is confirmed by the low proportion of loans in default. REAL ESTATE FINANCING Real estate construction continued under pressure in Investors turned away from large developer projects in favour of smaller structures in quality locations, and particularly in Prague. The Bank s loan exposure in the real estate segment decreased slightly in Several interesting, high-quality projects were realised, particularly in the residential area but also in the office and logistics areas. Individual loans were provided in smaller sums and under stricter conditions than in the past, with an emphasis on quality projects, first-class locations and architecturally sophisticated buildings. 13

16 BUSINESS ACTIVITIES FINANCING OF HOUSING COOPERATIVES AND APARTMENT OWNERS ASSOCIATIONS Financing of housing cooperatives and apartment owners associations developed very dynamically during 2011, both in the area of apartment building renovations and in privatisation of public housing. The volume of loans provided by the Bank for such purposes more than doubled during 2011, and over 200 new clients were acquired. The sales teams in Prague and Brno were reinforced by new staff members, and in May 2011 the Bank opened a new specialised office in Ostrava for housing cooperatives and apartment owners associations. MUNICIPALITIES, PUBLIC AND NON-PROFIT SECTORS Over the course of the year, Volksbank participated in a number of public tenders to provide financing to municipalities and towns and achieved a measure of success. Due to the long-term nature of drawing, however, the Bank s loan portfolio in the public and non-profit sectors did not change significantly. The volume of deposits slightly increased, owing to deposits from a leading client. TREASURY / SECURITES Financial markets Financial markets began 2011 somewhat optimistically, as indicated also by economic growth in the euro zone at the start of the year. This optimism was gradually receding already in the second quarter, however, when growth in the majority of euro zone countries, and particularly Germany and France, came to a standstill. Signs of a deepening debt crisis began to appear, as did growing risks of its affecting the entire euro zone banking sector, in which German and French banks play an especially important role. Rising uncertainty on financial markets was influenced in 2011 particularly by the deepening debt crisis in certain euro zone countries (Greece, Ireland, Portugal) and growing risks of its spreading to such other countries as Spain and Italy. The impacts of the debt crisis, in the form of rating downgrades and worsening of economic outlooks, resulted in a deteriorating situation on the financial market during Unlike foreign banks, which were rather seriously affected by the debt crisis in euro zone countries, the exposure of Czech banks to the troubled countries was comparatively very low. The Czech banking sector s stability also was verified by stress tests released by the Czech National Bank at the end of These tests have confirmed the capital adequacy of the sector as a whole, even in a potential case combining negative development of domestic and foreign economies with escalation of the fiscal crisis of indebted euro zone countries. The Czech inter-bank market was also characterised by a continuing liquidity surplus, a very small proportion of so-called toxic assets, and high profitability. In contrast to the European Central Bank, which gradually decreased its key interest rate during the year, the Czech National Bank did not react to the financial market situation in 2011 and kept its key two-week repo rate at its historically lowest-ever level of 0.75% through the entire year. The Czech National Bank also continued to offer instruments aiming to stabilise the situation on the inter-bank market and to support its liquidity. Investment instrument sales to corporate clients Due to the slowing rate of economic growth in the euro zone, which comprises the main export territory for Czech industry, 2011 was not an easy year for Czech companies. The uncertain outlook of orders directed to the euro zone had a significant impact on clients activities in hedging interest rate risk and subsequently on the structure of financial market products sold. Stagnation and a stable outlook for the development of interest rates also meant lower demand from clients for interest rate hedging. Despite the complicated situation, thanks to its individual approach in meeting clients needs and its wide offer of products the Bank managed to reconfirm the modest growth trend in the number and volume of transactions as well as in clients satisfaction with the services provided. 14

17 Financial institutions The Bank continued during 2011 to strengthen its position in the area of providing services to financial institutions. In addition to standard products and services, the Bank expanded its offer for financial institutions with specialised products. This expansion of the product offer and the Bank s individual approach contributed to a continuing growth trend in the number of financial institutions using the Volksbank s services as well as to increase in the volume of entrusted funds. Institutional clients using the Bank s services include, in particular, insurance companies, health insurance companies, state organisations and large corporations. Securities sales to clients The Bank s long-term strategy in securities sales is to create investment solutions for clients that maximally reflect their demands and expectations. Its clients have long shown a preference for conservative investment instruments with protection for the invested amounts. The increasing volume of bonds sold in 2011 reconfirms this trend. Among bonds, clients particularly preferred mortgage-backed securities issued by the Bank with both fixed and variable returns. Although stock markets did not produce many interesting investment opportunities in 2011, the Bank s clients also took advantage of opportunities for direct investments in shares on the Prague Stock Exchange as well as on foreign stock exchanges through the Treasury department and the Bank s branches. PAYMENT SYSTEM In spring 2011, Volksbank acceded to the SEPA system as an indirect member. The year was marked by a growing trend both in the number of total executed payments and in the increased proportion of outgoing electronic payments. The rise in domestic incoming and outgoing payments was about 7 percentage points greater than in the previous year. The number of incoming foreign payments rose by 10.29%, while nearly 8% more outgoing foreign payments were executed in 2011 than in Compared to the previous year, the proportion of electronic outgoing foreign payments increased in 2011 by 1.48 percentage points to a favourable 91.6% of the total number of outgoing foreign payments. The proportion of electronic outgoing domestic payments grew in 2011 as compared to the previous year by 1.39 percentage points to a very satisfactory 96.8% of the total number of outgoing domestic payments. Payment system outgoing payments in 2011 by method of presentation 3.2% 8.4% electronic other Domestic payments Foreign payments 96.8% 91.6% 15

18 BUSINESS ACTIVITIES ORGANISATION / IT For the Organisation / IT division, 2011 marked the successful transition to a central infrastructure under data centres in Vienna. Thorough preparations for this step required more than a year. The main task was to minimise the risks connected with the migration of hardware infrastructure. It was essential that neither customers nor employees be negatively affected by this change. As a pilot bank, Volksbank CZ was the first within the entire VBI Group to successfully transfer its banking system operations to the new infrastructure. This was the first step in this demanding Group-wide project. The aims are to have complete centralisation of servers and applications into two safe data centres in Europe and to achieve cost savings on future investments. An important change that was outwardly apparent and which was appreciated by our clients was the improvement of the design and functionality of internet banking. Volksbank regards electronic banking as a very important tool for communication with clients, and thus the Bank will continue its efforts to improve its portfolio of services offered via the internet. Internal IT processes also have undergone considerable improvements. The Organisation / IT division acts as an internal provider of services to the other departments. As part of these activities, it endeavours to improve and make more transparent the execution of internal requests through more effective processes as well as by introducing a new version of the Service Desk portal. ELECTRONIC BANKING Direct banking services continued to be provided to clients in 2011 by means of the applications Internet banking, Phone banking, Homebanking and MultiCash. Internet banking continues to be the most-used among Volksbank s direct banking services. This application had 24,156 users as at the end of 2011, representing a 3% increase as compared to the previous year. Although it is evident that the number of new users did not increase dramatically, retail and corporate customers are using direct banking services more frequently. Domestic electronic transactions account for more than 95% of operations within the payment system. Electronic transactions are more advantageous for the customer in terms of price and, taking into account their highly convenient execution, online processing and clarity, they also are more efficient. As at the end of the year, the number of Internet banking users having an electronic key, or so-called token, providing a high level of security was 14,630 of the total 24,156. This represents a 61% penetration of tokens and a 42% increase as compared to the previous year. Internet banking is thus sufficiently strengthened with respect to security, which remains the Bank s number one priority. At the beginning of December 2011, Volksbank introduced to its clients an updated version of Internet banking. Its improved user-friendliness substantially increases users satisfaction with online access to their accounts. Volksbank expanded its services with additional types of informational SMS and reports concerning account movements, various types of balances and system log-in. The Bank plans to continue developing its direct banking services for both retail and corporate banking in the next year. Breakdown of direct banking channels as at 31 December % 2.00% 0.26% Internetbanking Homebanking Phonebanking MultiCash direct banking 90.79% 16

19 Relative to other applications, the aforementioned leading electronic product enjoys a nearly 91% share in the overall group of direct banking products used. Homebanking and MultiCash together comprise 7.2%, while Phone banking accounts for 2%. The trend shows that the online channel (Internet banking) is significantly preferred. Owing to its practicality, it is growing in importance on the market. Decline in use of the supplementary Phone banking service (in which the customer is serviced via a toll-free telephone line by a bank operator) is due especially to two factors: discontinuation of the Volksbank SHOP sales channel operations, whose customers had used this service as a part of basic packages, and increase in the technological literacy of users, who mostly have decided to actively use Internet banking. The majority of former Volksbank SHOP clients have transferred their accounts to brick-and-mortar branches, where they can now use the full range of Volksbank services. PAYMENT CARDS The total volume of processed transactions made in 2011 using Volksbank payment cards exceeded the 2010 volume by approximately 6%. Likewise, the number of transactions in the past year slightly increased as compared to the previous year. At the start of 2011, Volksbank expanded the functionality of all types of payment cards with its CashBack service allowing cash withdrawal when making a payment in a shop. Over the course of the past year, the Bank also strengthened its preventive monitoring and evaluation of suspicious transactions, including more intensive verification directly with payment card holders, which was evaluated positively by a majority of clients. The most important change was made at the end of 2011, consisting in the introduction of a special limit for transactions executed particularly via the internet, with the possibility of blocking such payments in the system. This adjustment reduces the risks of abuse and increases payment card users peace of mind. We expect that the changes implemented in the payment cards area will result in higher satisfaction among our clients. CLIENT CENTRE Despite discontinuing the operations of Volksbank SHOP points of sale, the number of calls to the client information centre did not decrease as greatly as might be expected due to such change. The Client Centre began to deal intensively with campaigns and activities which are not directly related to telephoning or which require more administrative activities and more highly qualified personnel. In 2011, the process of monitoring transactions made using payment cards was optimised in cooperation with the Payment Cards department, while the inspection of paper payment orders was optimised in cooperation with the Payment System department. At a time when the Bank is focusing greatly on electronic banking and online products, support and monitoring of loan cases originating on the basis of a completed online mortgage application were added to the already established support for the online process of establishing a Current Savings Account. Operators at the Client Centre also gained deeper knowledge of electronic banking products and are thus able to respond to a wider range of questions concerning Internet banking and Homebanking. During 2011, claims and complaints management handled nearly the same number of reported cases as in 2010 (233 in 2010 vs. 236 in 2011). The client support manager made a record of interesting suggestions for improving internal processes, of which some have already been given consideration in the internal methodology and others are waiting to be processed. 17

20 BUSINESS ACTIVITIES EXTERNAL SALES NETWORKS The Bank continued in 2011 to build upon the previous year, which meant increasing the quality of its external partners portfolio and strengthening its relationships with those partners. Cooperation with partners continued to focus predominantly on products for retail clients, and particularly on deposit products, standard mortgage loans, American mortgage loans and loan refinancing. Cooperation in the area of investment loans for small enterprises was limited to selected external partners having experience in this area. Another important area of cooperation was in loans for housing cooperatives and apartment owners associations. In 2011, Volksbank was able to deepen and improve the quality of relationships with its external partners. Among other indicators of this is the fact that the volume of externally intermediated mortgages and American mortgage sales increased in volume by 42% year on year. HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT Human resources management is an important part of the Bank s overall strategic management, as employees are a decisive factor in creating long-term partnership relationships with our clients, fulfilling sales targets, and creating an effective foundation and environment for all banking activities. In light of the ambitious sales targets and recovering economy, a priority for 2011 was to increase the number of employees in the business units and to ensure their proper integration. Staffing in the Corporate Clients division was increased by 10 employees. The Housing, Public and Real Estate Financing division as well as the International Desk each gained an additional two employees. At the end of 2011, the retail branch network had 24 more employees than it did at the same time in The high-quality service available at cash desks and the first impression gained upon arriving at a branch are important. In 2011, therefore, we focused on strengthening the role of client facing employees and introduced quality standards at the branches. Three training centres were established in Prague, Brno and Jihlava to train cash-desk personnel. We continue to focus on fostering employees solidarity with the Bank. During the change in ownership, we put particular emphasis on ensuring that the Bank s management as well as all employees were the first to have all available information about progress in the ongoing negotiations. MARKETING & COMMUNICATION The Bank s marketing support in 2011 focused on the active middle class as well as small and medium enterprises looking not just for a bank but especially for personal banking and financial advisory at a reasonable price. The new communication strategy emphasises the Bank s values of modern conservatism, transparency, reliability, fairness, openness and empathy. The strategic aim was to implement the Bank s new approach across the marketing mix. The main communications campaign was launched in September 2011, primarily targeting small and medium enterprises. With the motto Let your plans take wing and soar, the campaign portrayed Volksbank as the right choice for financing a business. The main objectives were to support the Bank s visibility, increase awareness of the Volksbank brand, and thereby acquire new clients. Toward achieving this goal, the campaign was also supported by a direct-mail campaign with an attractive offer addressing needs in the area of financing business. The accompanying media campaign included television sponsorship as well as internet, outdoor and print advertising. The campaign evidenced very good communication results, as indicated by B2B clients in post-campaign testing. Aided brand recognition grew by 11 percentage points (to 66%), even though Volksbank s media communications share for the given period was only 9.6%. The willingness to learn about Volksbank s product offer also increased. Clients liked the communication concept, as also evidenced by a Top 10 award from Strategie marketing magazine in the print advertising category. The autumn campaign established a very good foundation upon which we will continue to build in the coming years. 18 Extensive organisational changes were also made during the year. A new organisational structure was established in the Marketing & Communication department, and in August 2011 the department moved its office to Prague.

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