Working as a banking supervision translator, I see the day-to-day goings on in the banking sector in Austria. Since arriving in Vienna, the density of bank branches has always seemed to be relatively high, particularly in residential areas, although with more banks pushing their customers towards online banking and paring back their branch network, or slimming it back in terms of the numbers of physical customer advisors, and transforming foyers by adding more ATMs and machines for paying in. There are also a number of signs of the history of banking around the city, from the past.
As well as the largest banks (Erste, Raiffeisen, Bank Austria, BAWAG, Volksbank) there are a number of smaller banks around, as well as some historic banking sights, no longer existing as banks. Once such example is the preserved facade of Pinschof & Co. in Spiegelgasse just off to the Graben, above Hello Bank (owned by BNP Paribas), which survives. The bank itself was eventually absorbed into the Schoellerbank, which itself is now the private banking arm of Bank Austria.
Address: Spiegelgasse 3, 1010 Wien
Golden Star Bank
Tucked away in a side street by the Westbahnhof close to Mariahilferstrasse, Kaiserstrasse 12 is an unassuming building. Until 2004, it was the last European branch of the Golden Star Bank – a North Korean bank. It eventually closed down – following allegations of institutionalised money laundering and proliferation.
Stories about Golden Star Bank (mainly in German):
- Kim Jong-un bunkert 5 Mrd. Dollar bei uns (from heute.at)
- Golden Star Bank (Wikipedia entry)
- Die dunkle Seite des Finanzplatzes Wien (private blog)
Address: Kaiserstrasse 12, 1070 Wien
Austrian Anadi Bank
A new bank but with a long history – the Austrian Anadi Bank (Hindi for eternity) is a new banking brand, having existed since 2013 under the Anadi brand, but claiming a history since 1896. The 1896 date was the founding date of the bank that would eventually become Hypo Alpe Adria, a bank that over-expanded from its regional roots in Carinthia into South Eastern Europe, and had to be saved in a very public bail-out. On the ATM at the branch in Vienna’s Wollzeile, the remains of the old Hypo Alpe Adria branding are still visible.
Address: Wollzeile 19, 1010 Wien