The foundation and the first few decades
At a meeting convened in Linz on 13 April 1869, the participants resolved to establish a “joint stock company in partnership with its consorts”. The company to be established was to be designated “Bank für Ober-Oesterreich und Salzburg” and have its head office in Linz. The new bank was to be officially founded on 1 July 1869. The Federal Province of Upper Austria became a shareholder of Oberbank in 1920, followed by Bayerische Vereinsbank in 1921. In 1929, Creditanstalt für Handel und Gewerbe (CA) became the majority owner of Oberbank.
Oberbank in the aftermath of World War II
In 1945 Oberbank, besides its Linz head office and the Salzburg principal branch, consisted of eleven branch offices. As early as 1946, the Austrian National Bank granted Oberbank a foreign currency trading licence; in 1949 the Bank was appointed ERP Bank under the Marshall Plan. Starting in 1955, a pronounced upward turn marked the Bank’s development as it adopted the business model of a universal bank. The Bank gained personal banking customers, expanded its business by taking in deposits from private individuals and extending loans to this customer group, and thus laid the foundation for gaining an equally strong foothold in corporate and personal banking.
The 3 Banken Group
After World War II, Creditanstalt, which held majority stakes in the three regional banks Oberbank, Bank für Kärnten AG (today BKS Bank AG) and Bank für Tirol und Vorarlberg Aktiengesellschaft (BTV), divided its shares into three lots, retained one third of each lot itself and sold off a stake of one third in each of the banks to the respective other two regional banks. The originally capital-based links between Oberbank, BKS and BTV developed into a close, partnership-based cooperation that continues today, evidenced by a joint marketing approach under the banner of the 3 Banken Group. The three banks cooperate closely wherever there is synergy potential to be utilised, and their jointly held subsidiaries such as Drei-Banken-EDV Gesellschaft, Drei-Banken Versicherungs-Aktiengesellschaft and 3 Banken-Generali Investment-Gesellschaft all boast a particularly successful track record. This cooperation in no way interferes with the three banks’ market presences as autonomous banking institutions.
Listing on the Vienna Stock Exchange
By going public on 1 July 1986, Oberbank and its sister banks paved the way for the three banks to lastingly distance themselves from the influence of CA and continue with an independent strategy. Today, Oberbank’s shareholder structure includes, besides its two sister banks, UniCredit Bank Austria, Wüstenrot, Generali and the Oberbank employees.
Oberbank today: “a regional bank at the heart of Europe”
The freedom of establishment of banks introduced in the 1970s allowed Oberbank to extend its catchment area beyond its original heartlands of Upper Austria and Salzburg. Oberbank has been represented with separate branches in Lower Austria since 1985, in Vienna since 1988, in Bavaria since 1990, in the Czech Republic since 2004, in Hungary since 2007 and in Slovakia since 2009.