Oberbank AG

Riding around downtown Linz I thought for sure I 'd come across the headquarters for Oberbank, a regional Austrian bank with 424 million Euros in revenues. And why not? Here was this bulky low-rise, box-like building fronting the downtown riverfront surrounded by other banks and insurance companies housed in similar 1980's- style buildings. As I'm locking the bike up outside the security guard/reception manning the desk inside scurries out and starts ordering me to move my bike. Though he's speaking German and I don't, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out he's not happy with my having the bike near the building entrance. I show him the address I'm looking for and find out it's several blocks away.

Linz doesn't have a very big Altstadt or "old town" but it does have an impressive main square lined with buildings hundreds of years old. It's here in HauptPlatz that I find the four-story head office of Oberbank.

After two unsuccessful visits I finally hook-up on the third try with Alexandra Furthner from corporate communications. Unfortunately she's been with the company only a few months and knows very little about the building. At the end of my visit I'm introduced to Hermannn Kogler, who's been with the company a long time, however, Kogler shows little interest in what I'm doing. The title on Kogler's business card reads "Stv. Leiter des Sekretariats" but he isn't able to explain what it means in English. My guess would be company secretary.

This building was "probably" built in the 1700's. The bank was founded in 1869 so it's assumed Oberbank has been in this building since its founding. Oberbank has a total of 1,600 employees with 150 of those here.

Senior management get reserved parking spots, it's 15 miles to the nearest airport (Linz), smoking is allowed in offices and for lunch employees hike two blocks to the big bulky lakefront building.

CEO Franz Gasselberger occupies a second floor corner office with a view of the plaza area. I count two real plants, a desktop computer and several family pictures. Can't see the boardroom due to it being in use.