Another bank threatens to quit Austria over taxes

VIENNA Fri Apr 11, 2014 6:12am EDT

A Raiffeisen Bank International logo is reflected in the glass front of a branch in Vienna January 9, 2014. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

A Raiffeisen Bank International logo is reflected in the glass front of a branch in Vienna January 9, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader

VIENNA (Reuters) - The head of the Raiffeisen bank in the Austrian province of Upper Austria has threatened to move its headquarters across the border to Germany in a growing row with the government over a bank levy which lenders say is too onerous.

The remarks by Heinrich Schaller, head of Raiffeisen Landesbank Oberoesterreich (RLBOp.VI), to a regional newspaper comes after the Czech president said this week that Erste Group (ERST.VI) may move its headquarters to Prague.

"It would be negligent in business management terms if I did not consider moving to be an option," Schaller told the Oberoesterreichische Nachrichten in an interview printed on Friday, noting its bank levy bill in Germany would fall to around 5 million euros ($6.9 million) from 34 million euros in Austria.

"We are not the only bank that is considering a move abroad," he added.

Austrian banks have chafed under the government's campaign to recoup funds that taxpayers provided to help the sector through the financial crisis. A levy on big banks' assets raises around 640 million euros a year for the state budget.

Social Democrat Chancellor Werner Faymann said last week he would keep that levy despite a parallel program to set up a fund to enable the winding-down of ailing euro zone banks.

The chief executive of UniCredit's (CRDI.MI) Bank Austria has demanded talks with the government over the issue.

($1=0.7204 euros)

(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Recommended Newsletters

Reuters U.S. Top News
A quick-fix on the day's news published with Reuters videos and award-winning news photography and delivered at your choice of one of four times during the day.
Reuters Deals Today
The latest Reuters articles on M&A, IPOs, private equity, hedge funds and regulatory updates delivered to your inbox each day.
Reuters Technology Report
Your daily briefing on the latest tech developments from around the world from Reuters expert tech correspondents.