Monday, June 23, 2014

Our last day in Vienna!

         I always seem to get the posts that fall on our last day in each city.  So it's always so bittersweet.  It is so weird to think about this trip and how it is already halfway over!  As much as I love Vienna, I am so excited to go spend time in Prague. 

         This morning, we visited BAWAG PSK, which is a major bank here in Austria.  We visited the headquarters building which is located right here in Vienna.  It is one of Austria's largest retail banking institutions.  PSK was founded in 1883, while BAWAG was founded in 1922.  They weren't merged together until just recently in 2005.  After a financial crisis in 2007, they were sold to Cerberus Capital Management which is a very well known company over here.  We even have a location in New York.

                                               The BAWAG P.S.K. Headquarters Building

         In the past few years, the bank has come a long way.  According to their 2014 results, their net profit has increased by almost 77% over the last few quarters.  Their operating expenses are decreasing significantly along with their risk costs and risk-weighed assets.  One crazy thing that is way different than in the U.S. is that their mortgage rate is only 1.7%.  Although, each customer at the bank has to pay a fee of about 25 euros per quarter just for maintaining an account.

          Here are a few more very interesting and shocking statistics about the Austrian economy (when compared to the U.S.):

 - The average retirement age is 53 years old.
 - Austria has the lowest unemployment rate in all of Europe.
 - Maternity leave is TWO YEARS.  Your job is saved and you can come back part-time and build up your hours however you want until your child starts Kindergarden.

        So aside from all that we learned at the bank, we also did some more exploring this afternoon.  After tha bank, we went to the shops along the street of our hotel.  After spending a little too much money, we took the underground subway to the Danube river where we sat and ate dinner on the beach and watch the wake boarders.  Definitely a great way to end the day and our stay in Vienna.  This trip is turning out what I hoped it would be plus so much more! The only thing I would change is being allowed free, ice cold, tap water at restaurants. Not the sparkling bottle they charge us $8 for.

      Can't wait to head to Prague in the morning and see what that has in store for us!

                    ~ Maddie Thibault ~

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