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150th anniversary – Sparkas Hoegsdorf's 150th birthday: “Proud of independence”

150th anniversary – Sparkas Hoegsdorf's 150th birthday: “Proud of independence”

Sparkasse Haugsdorf was founded in 1874 and this year celebrates its 150th anniversary. Two branches – in Hadres (since 1978) and Mailberg (since 2010) – are also part of Haugsdorfer Sparkasse. In 2021, Doris Schnopf and Robert Holzberger replaced former board members Joseph Toffel and Christa Gruer due to their retirement. In 2023, Schnopf left for personal reasons and Ralf Zettleberger became her successor in the back office. Robert Holzberger is responsible for the customer area.

Both Board members can bring back many years of professional experience in banking. They talked to NÖN about the current challenges. First they explain that Sparkasse Haugsdorf is an association. Dividends are not paid to officials or shareholders. The board of the savings bank officially decides what should happen with the profits.

No merger for Haugsdorfer Sparkasse: “We are proud to be independent”

“We are a separate legal form according to the Savings Bank Act, that is, a company. But it is controlled by the Savings Bank Association, which is actually non-profit and not profit-oriented,” explains Zeitelberger. “The supervisory authority has a say in the distributions, but the savings bank can also He decides his profits to some extent.” And: “We don’t pour as much as we should.”

Because the bank needs its shares. Other financial institutions have merged in recent years. “We at Haugsdorf, with our 28 employees, are proud to have remained an independent savings bank,” the Board of Directors emphasizes.

Ralph Zeitelberger has a “small organization.”

How is the new CEO doing in his new position? “I worked at Erste Bank in Vienna for a long time. There are about 5,000 employees there. “The cooperation here is completely different, I enjoy organizing on a small scale here,” said banker and law graduate Ralf Zettleberger, who was commuting from his home in Bissemberg to Haugesdorf. Since August “We have the highest level of customer satisfaction in Austria, because we take regional conditions into account more than any large bank,” says Holzberger.

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The board sees a difference between urban and rural clients when it comes to how they invest money. “Here there are more conservative attitudes, and there is less trading in securities than in Vienna.”

What about construction loans? “Through the KIM regulation, banking authorities tell us the criteria under which we can grant loans. “You must have 20 percent of your own money, and you can use a maximum of 40 percent of your net income for loan installments,” explains Zeitelberger. At the moment, interest rates on Loans are higher and you can afford less. Consequently, fewer are built and fewer properties are purchased. This is currently a negative situation for all banks.

Digital offerings will be promoted in the future, and branch offices will remain

How will increased digitization impact banking services in the future? “We previously focused less on digital banking. “That's why we want to push the digital offer.” This is aimed at attracting primarily young customers. Despite the expansion of digitalization, one thing is clear: “We will not close our branch offices,” Because “the regional area has the most important topics for us that we can adapt and work on independently,” says Holzberger.

Zeitelberger believes that the digital euro represents competition for banks, and there may be monetary restrictions and tax collection. “Everything will definitely become easier to control,” he predicts. A digital euro is likely coming, but you don't have to use it.