Established in 1819 as the first savings bank in Austria (Erste oesterreichische Spar-Casse), Erste Bank is now one of the largest financial service providers in Central and Eastern Europe in terms of the number of customers and total assets. The number of Erste Bank customers increased from 600,000 to 16.6 million in just over ten years, through growth in Austria and expansion in Central and Eastern Europe, where it has so far acquired 10 banks.
1. Business orientation: retail banking. Erste Bank serves 16.6 million citizens in seven countries.
2. Geographical orientation: Central and Eastern Europe. Erste Bank's core market covers a region of almost 120 million inhabitants. Establishment of a cross-guarantee system in Austria constitutes the basis for wide cooperation with savings banks.