Erste österreichische Spar-Casse, savings bank; founded in 1819 in Vienna on the initiative of Johann Baptist Weber, the parish priest of St. Leopold in Vienna, it is the oldest bank in Austria. One of the first savings banks on the European continent, it played an important part in the development and extension of savings banking. In 1825 it created the first private social insurance institution in Central Europe, the "Allgemeine Versorgungsanstalt für die Unterthanen des österreichischen Kaiserstaats" ("General insurance institution for the subjects of the Austrian Empire"). It also played a considerable part in the development of mortgage loans. In 1873 a loan society for financing small businesses was created. After 1938 (occupation of Austria by Hitler), the bank was allowed to keep the term Austria in its name despite massive pressure.
Today, it is one of the most significant banks in Austria, with more than 230 branches (as of 1994) serving private and business customers. Representative offices abroad: in Brussels, Madrid, Vicenza, London and other cities in the United Kingdom. GiroCredit Bank AG der Sparkassen Erste Bank der oesterreichischen Sparkasse AG