Trajectories of the financial center Vienna. Transformation from a weak to a strong history? The financial center of Vienna experienced a dynamic internationalization during the 1990s and early 2000s, which was focused on the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Although Viennese banks were irrelevant players on the European scale, Bank Austria, Erste Bank, and Raiffeisen International became the largest foreign banks in this region. Following the concept of path dependency, this article identifies this period as a “strong history” and traces this story of success back to historic pre-1989 conditions: a “weak history”. Based on quantitative research and expert interviews, this paper shows the personal and institutional continuities of Viennese banks in the CEE region, which outlasted the historic break of 1989.
© 2016 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston