Österreichische Postsparkasse, Vienna, founded 1883 “k.k. Österreichisches Postsparkassenamt”, architect: Otto Wagner (built 1904-1912)

As a result of the First World War the persistent shortage of domestic and foreign capital for investment in the economies of Central and Eastern Europe, as mentioned above, worsened. At the same time, due to the devastation of the war the demand for capital rose dramatically. After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918 new stock exchanges were established in the successor states of the former empire. The scene had been dominated by the Vienna Stock Exchange and to a much lesser degree the Prague Stock Exchange, founded in 1871. In the 1920s new stock exchanges opened up in Belgrade, Bratislava, Brno, Ljubljana, Warsaw and Zagreb, which competed with Vienna. Their main business was in dealing in securities, bills and foreign currencies and not shares. The same was true for the Vienna Stock Exchange during the interwar years. Only in the years 1926/27 did the currency situation stabilise after the hyper-inflation in the successor states of the Habsburg Empire after the First World War and central banks had been established in all new states. The finances of Austria, Hungary, Poland and Bulgaria were under international supervision and the new central banks had to be independent from the state, but they had to act as lenders of last resort together with the respective governments. Especially in Austria the “Franc Speculation” further destabilised the financial scene.…


Former Österreichische Creditanstalt building (today the Park Hyatt Vienna hotel), founded 1855 “k.k.privilegierte Österreichische Credit-Anstalt für Handel und Gewerbe”, architect Franz Fröhlich (built 1858-60)


The components of the banking system had already been established when the above mentioned Gründerzeit took place. Different components were formed in different periods and new types of institutions were created after the crash of 1873 because the system itself was very dynamic.


The oldest element was the bank of issue in Vienna (1816). The Austrian National Bank opened its first branch in Prague in 1847 and its second one in Pest in 1851. By 1875 it had 24 branches in addition to its headquarters in Vienna. On local markets these branch offices played an important role in the distribution of Treasury notes, government paper money that had been issued again since 1866, and in the supply of bank notes. In the beginning of the 19th century savings banks were established. The Erste Österreichische Sparcasse was established in 1819 with philanthropic aims and it served as an example in other parts of the empire. Due to the crises of 1857 and 1873 a great number of private bankers, who were considered the main financiers before, disappeared from the financial scene or their business was transformed. They either specialised in certain fields or joined larger banks established at that time. The Rothschild house in Vienna was the only one to keep its former position.…