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Old 10.01.2008, 17:26
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Opinions on Raiffeisen Bank vs. UBS

I would like to canvas some opinions on Raiffeisen bank for general banking, such as having a private account, basic Maestro etc. I am considering switching from UBS and hope that Raiffeisen is a reasonable alternative.

So far, I know they also have internet banking, but their site is a bit obscure, as I cannot find costs associated with having various accounts! Edit: you have to find the local bank branch first, then they add a link to costs on the left hand site menu.

Is anyone here with them and what is your impression? Any problems? Also, did anyone become a member? I have not yet found their pricing structure for this, do you pay a certain amount which you get back if you leave? Edit: it is 200 chf which you get back when you leave.

Thanks for any tips!

Last edited by muze7; 10.01.2008 at 22:47.
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Old 10.01.2008, 17:31
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Re: Opinions on Raiffeisen Bank?

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I would like to canvas some opinions on Raiffeisen bank for general banking, such as having a private account, basic Maestro etc. I am considering switching from UBS and hope that Raiffeisen is a reasonable alternative.

So far, I know they also have internet banking, but their site is a bit obscure, as I cannot find costs associated with having various accounts! Edit: you have to find the local bank, then they add a link to costs on the left hand site menu.

Is anyone here with them and what is your impression? Any problems? Also, did anyone become a member? I have not yet found their pricing structure for this, do you pay a certain amount which you get back if you leave?

Thanks for any tips!
You have probably never considered it but according to most reports such as Kcash Coop is the best bank... I had an account with Raifeissen for several years because it was the only bank in town - they were very conservative with everything, struggled if you asked anything outside of standard but were friendly and efficient.
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Old 10.01.2008, 17:36
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Re: Opinions on Raiffeisen Bank?

Ok, I will investigate the Coop bank. I have a vague recollection that you need to pay per internet banking transaction and that this does not disappear over say 10k. But maybe I am wrong.

Were you a member of the Raiffeisen cooperative during those years? They have a few deals like better interest and free Maestro and credit card initially, but I do not understand if you get the startup fee back when you leave... yes you do, it is 200 chf

Last edited by muze7; 10.01.2008 at 21:05.
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Old 10.01.2008, 17:55
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Re: Opinions on Raiffeisen Bank?

I think the best and chepest, hassle free account can be had at the Post Office.

with postfinance I have my account, to handle my salary and payments on the internet, cash dispensers and offices throughout the whole swizerland, a debit card compatible with Plus that works worldwide, you can even have a visa credit card with them if you wish. Many products and services as wire transfers and even western union transfers are included and at a lower price than on the other banks, the system is integrated with Swift and you have an IBAN number so it works like any other bank for what international transactions is concerned.

And also if you live in Zurich, Bern or Geneva, you have an special post office that is open on Sundays and evenings for your emergency operations.
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Old 10.01.2008, 17:56
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Re: Opinions on Raiffeisen Bank?

I have my mortgage with Raiffeisen and everything else with UBS. What I prefer with UBS over Raiffeisen (the reason I don't switch everything to Raiffeisen) is the simple fact that Raiffeisen doesn't do English. Sure I have no problems (anymore) with German but I still like walking up to an automated teller and having the thing automatically switch to English when I pop my bank card in.
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Old 10.01.2008, 19:23
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Re: Opinions on Raiffeisen Bank?

I'm a share member, and it pays a little bit of interest. The ATM card seems to be very local to where I have the account, which suits me fine. Also, there is a limit to the amount I can draw in cash per month on the card. Yes, language is a bit of a struggle with the online service, and I have numerous pages of translated "help index" entries printed out, just in case.
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Old 10.01.2008, 20:36
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Re: Opinions on Raiffeisen Bank?

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Ok, I will investigate the Coop bank. I have a vague recollection that you need to pay per internet banking transaction and that this does not disappear over say 10k. But maybe I am wrong.

Were you a member of the Raiffeisen cooperative during those years? They have a few deals like better interest and free Maestro and credit card initially, but I do not understand if you get the startup fee back when you leave...
Funny, Muze7, but i started this year with exact same intention to migrate from UBS to Raiffeisen. After having been with UBS for over a year i felt good about UBS stability and presense. But looking at investments (UBS suggested some of their funds paying meagre 5-6% before management fees!) Raiffeisen's plain deposit rates can beat those investments.

As Richard noted, and i read some reviews too, UBS and Credit Suisse are on the bottom of cost-efficiency while RF ranked some of the top ones in Suisse. I took some EUR out of my CHF account and, being a forex trader, was plainly shocked when realized that UBS made 240pips off me off the bat. I expected some exchange rate difference but not so voraciously much. No more currency operations with them, am going directly to interactive brokers for any currency conversions!

Then i requested a reference and was told 100 swisses. Couldn't beat the feeling UBS is trying to recoup their credit crisis losses on their customers. Will proceed with RF in any case. Deutsch ist keine Issue, even exciting as at the end you come out more educated rather than trying to play it safe.
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Old 10.01.2008, 20:53
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Re: Opinions on Raiffeisen Bank?

Let me say we used to be quite satisfied with most aspects of UBS, like the online banking and online access to credit card statements and that most things are available in English. However, their recent financial behaviour has been abhorrent in my opinion, and we have decided to take our money elsewhere for that reason. Also, you are right, their currency transactions are expensive, and I now use www.wechselstube.ch for that. Easy and much cheaper.

Second, UBS recently changed their fee structure, and if you dip below 10k a month even for a day, you need to pay fees, including paying for every internet transaction you did that month. (Before, you needed to reach 10k in a month).

I like Postfinance too, especially because you can get a free Euro account and free Postcard in Euro (UBS charges 1% for Euro withdrawals), but on their own PF are not enough for me. A transfer in Euros to the EU cost 30 Euros because they had no links with the (major) receiving bank. Second, they do not offer the Maestro card, and the Plus card alone, hmm, do all Europeans bankomats offer the Plus logo these days?

I went to Raiffeisen today, and got some more info. If you pay 200 CHF, you can get the membership only accounts which are free to maintain, your withdrawals at their and other banks' ATMs are free, and the interest is higher. You also get a Maestro card and Credit card and Museum pass free the first year, which seems a good deal to me, even though they charge 1.5% credit card fees on foreign payments whereas most UBS cards charge 0.9%. You get the 200 CHF back when you leave plus interest on it.

So in theory, I would prefer the bigger banks as, like Richard says, they should be more experienced in doing uncommon things, but since the advent of internet banking has made life more flexible, I think I will take a chance with Raiffeisen for now and Postfinance as backup, also for easy foreign currency accounts.

What I do not yet know is if you can transfer those locked rental accounts to another bank. I do know transferring simple pillar 3a accounts should be straightforward (the interest rate is also higher than at UBS, 2.5% for Fisca 3a and 2.25 for vested benefits, at UBS Fisca 3a yields 2% and vested benefits 1.75%; a difference of 1% if you have both accounts see http://www.ubs.com/1/e/ubs_ch/private/interests.html).

The only other thing is Raiffeisen seem to be organized regionally, so if you work and live in another region (say French-speaking CH), you can not organize your affairs at both branches, but you can withdraw and deposit money in the 'foreign' branch.

Last edited by muze7; 20.01.2008 at 19:35.
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Old 10.01.2008, 21:06
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Re: Opinions on Raiffeisen Bank?

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I went to Raiffeisen today, and got some more info. If you pay 200 CHF, you can get the membership only accounts which are free to maintain, your withdrawals at their and other banks' ATMs are free, and the interest is higher. You also get a Maestro card and Credit card and Museum pass free the first year, which seems a good deal to me, even though they charge 1.5% credit card fees on foreign payments whereas most UBS cards charge 0.9%. You get the 200 CHF back when you leave plus interest (5% I think?).

They also offer, once a year, a special deal on travel within Switzerland. I think last year was half-priced lodging and rail/boat/bus travel around Luzern. The year before was the same sort of deal in Ticino.
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Old 18.01.2008, 17:12
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Re: Opinions on Raiffeisen Bank?

The Maestro /visa card deal that gives free entry or a reduced price into most museums in CH, is valid for the duration of said cards (not just first year) and is valid for 1 adult and up to five children on each card.

Something to consider if you plan on visiting museums with a family.

http://www.museumspass.ch/francais/preise.htm

Nick.
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Old 18.01.2008, 19:43
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Re: Opinions on Raiffeisen Bank?

Muze 7

Do you think that Raiffeisen Bank is SAFER than UBS with regard to your private money?? Is that one of the reasons that you are moving?

I read all the posts in the thread [Stock Market] Safety of money in Swiss banks?

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To answer your original question. Postfinance is an arm of the Swiss post which is 100% owned by the Swiss federation. As such Switzerland is underwriting Postfinance. UBS has 0% non-prime loans and is therefore not effected directly by the current financial turblulence. Credit Suisse has minimal non-prime loan exposure.

To sum up what this all means. All 3 companies but particularly UBS and CS will profit from any substantial market "correction". Ultimately as long as the market is moving, irrespective of direction the banks make money and always use the excuse of a downturn in the financial industry to trim their workforces...
Things have changed so much since then and I think its perfectly justified to revisit the queries.

Experts, your feedback please...
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Old 20.01.2008, 18:22
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Re: Opinions on Raiffeisen Bank?

Me too, I have an account with Raiffeisen. I also agree with most of the earlier posts that while their service is friendly and efficient, staff can be conservative. Whenever I called, they always talked to me in a strange language, not really Swiss German and definitely not high German, maybe a mix. We had meetings with them twice and although the guy can speak English far better than my German, he would never try. I also paid the SF 200 to become their member but I don't think I will get it back later.
It's hard for me to compare because so far it's the only bank I know here.
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Old 20.01.2008, 19:01
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Re: Opinions on Raiffeisen Bank?

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Do you think that Raiffeisen Bank is SAFER than UBS with regard to your private money?? Is that one of the reasons that you are moving?
No, I am moving purely because I am fed up with UBS tactics, and the way they gambled their investments by going deep into subprime loans while experts have been warning about US debt structures for several years now! Add to this the fact that senior management seems to escape punishment to a large degree, I have simply had enough.

On safety, as someone said, Postfinance is somehow underwritten (?), and UBS has so much 'wealth' in and invested in Switzerland in terms of property, capital etc., that if UBS goes bust, basically Switzerland has a big problem too! In other words, if either Postfinance or UBS goes under, the world must be in such a bad shape already, that safety of your money is probably not the first priority at that point . But I am no expert, and it would be good to hear some better informed people's opinion.


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We had meetings with them twice and although the guy can speak English far better than my German, he would never try. I also paid the SF 200 to become their member but I don't think I will get it back later.
I did ask my advisor twice, and he confirmed you will get it back. If anyone has found otherwise however, please post in the thread, so we are warned.

Yes, everyone is correct on the language front I think. My advisor spoke French and I did not attempt any conversation in English because it was a small branch in a large shopping centre, he was the only bank staff present, and the whole setting was a far cry from a large UBS branch in a city, where you find someone who speaks English always.

Also, their leaflets and websites are only in German and French, so yes, it is definitely not a bank geared towards expats. But I combine it with Postfinance so am a little more flexible there.

By the way, I still need to find out if one can move the security account that holds one's rental deposit; and whether you would need permission from the landlord to do so.
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Old 20.01.2008, 19:21
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Re: Opinions on Raiffeisen Bank?

Hello!

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What I do not yet know is if you can transfer those locked rental accounts to another bank.
This can be done but it is a pain ;-)

What you normally need to do is open a new bank guarnatee for your renter and then wrtie to him to free up the other one... so for a while you have money blocked in 2 accounts.

I would suggest you leave the rental one in UBS as it should be free of charge, and then when yu move open the new one in your bank.
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I do know transferring simple pillar 3a accounts should be straightforward (the interest rate is also higher than at UBS, 2.5% for Fisca 3a and 2.25 for vested benefits, at UBS Fisca 3a yields 2%).
This is a straighforward operation.
interest fo the simplest of accounts is even higher at Coopbank (2.375% as of April 1st 2008). I would suggest putting 3rd pillar here. This is what we did as it is not a bank account we regularly use and it is free of charge.

Cheers,
Cristina


Cheers,
Cristina
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Old 20.01.2008, 19:26
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Re: Opinions on Raiffeisen Bank?

Thanks Christina, will do that.

I did mean the most simple pillar 3a account, the Fisca 3a as UBS calls it. This has 2.50% at Raiffeisen, so still a little bit more than the Coop . By the way, anyone needing an overview of interest rates for this pension pillar with lots of different banks go to www.comparis.ch and it is somewhere on the left hand menu, quite handy. This is what made me consider Raiffeisen as I was not really aware of them before.
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Old 20.01.2008, 19:30
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Re: Opinions on Raiffeisen Bank?

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Thanks Christina, will do that.

I did mean the most simple pillar 3a account, the Fisca 3a as UBS calls it. This has 2.50% at Raiffeisen, so still a little bit more than the Coop . By the way, anyone needing an overview of interest rates for this pension pillar with lots of different banks go to www.comparis.ch and it is somewhere on the left hand menu, quite handy. This is what made me consider Raiffeisen as I was not really aware of them before.

I am a bit tired...

Ineed it is higher... will need to transfer ours then

Thanks for pointing out mistake

Cheers,
Cristina
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Old 22.01.2008, 14:22
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Re: Opinions on Raiffeisen Bank?

Ok, account is now opened and I can confirm you get the 200 CHF back, as it was mentioned by a third client advisor who also says you get interest on it.
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I also paid the SF 200 to become their member but I don't think I will get it back later.
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Old 29.01.2008, 12:49
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Re: Opinions on Raiffeisen Bank?

Ok, just to let people know, I found out that if you leave UBS, it is possible to keep your credit card and even the travel insurance (plus or normal). Only thing is you loose access to online credit card statements.

The Raiffeisen credit cards have online access but I thought for a transition period, keeping UBS cards could be handy.
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Old 07.02.2008, 23:08
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Re: Opinions on Raiffeisen Bank?

Holy smokes, I read in the conditions that each member who paid the cooperative fee (the 200 CHF), is liable to pay up to another 8000 CHF should the bank need it in financial troubles!

I hope I misunderstood the words because it concerns up to 11 billion francs according to the 2006 report (below).

Quote:
4) Additional funding obligation of the cooperative
members towards the Raiffeisen banks: Should it emerge
from the annual balance sheet of a Raiffeisen bank that
the cooperative capital is no longer covered, the cooperative
members are bound by an additional funding obligation
of up to 8,000 Swiss francs each in accordance with
Art. 871 of the Swiss Code of Obligations. The additional
funding obligation of the cooperative members totals 11 billion
Swiss francs (see note 10 “Evidence of equity capital”,
page 125).
Source: http://www.raiffeisen.ch/raiffeisen/...E/38140594.pdf

Granted, their exposure outside Switzerland seems very low but still!
Edit: I called them today and this is true; the way I understood it is if any of Raiffeisen's subsystems goes bust, the rest has to bail them out. This not only means your money in Raiffeisen accounts could be lost (if the Swiss do not have a guarantee system), you could also have to pay to get them out of trouble, up to 8k per bank account (mitgliederschaft).

Last edited by muze7; 10.02.2008 at 22:16.
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Old 08.02.2008, 14:52
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Re: Opinions on Raiffeisen Bank?

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< ... > Raiffeisen doesn't do English. Sure I have no problems (anymore) with German but I still like walking up to an automated teller and having the thing automatically switch to English when I pop my bank card in.
That's odd, I've just checked my Maestro-Karte Antrag for when we signed up for me, and there's a line called Automatensprache with English as one of the 4 options... Does yours not have this?

I really like having a Raiffeisen account, if for nothing else but the Museumpass option. I estimate that we easily save CHF 400 a year on entrance fees. As long as one thinks of it as a credit union (which it is) rather than a conventional bank such as UBS, it makes it easier to understand why they do some things in seemingly strange ways, such as the fact that different branches can have different rates for interest-bearing accounts.

Just my two Rappens.
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