* Austrian cenbank governor also sees no systemic problem
* Hungary bid to involve banks in FX loan losses under
(Adds quotes from IMF official, Austrian central banker)
VIENNA, July 1 The Bulgarian banking system is
basically sound despite a run on two banks, an official from the
International Monetary Fund and the head of Austria's central
bank said on Tuesday.
"These bank runs were triggered by text messages and were
not related to underlying problems of the banking system, which
is well capitalised and liquid. There has also been a loan from
the European Union," Bas Bakker, the IMF mission chief to
Austria, said at a news conference in Vienna.
Worries about the health of some Bulgarian banks have eased
since runs on two major Bulgarian lenders this month, the Balkan
state's central bank said on Monday, adding that the banking
system was functioning normally.
Austrian National Bank Governor Ewald Nowotny took the same
line and said Austrian banks - some of the biggest lenders in
central and eastern Europe - were not affected.
"This is not a systemic problem of the Bulgarian banking
system. It is a problem of specific banks and in fact what we
see is deposits moving from these banks to Austrian-owned
banks," he told the news conference.
UniCredit Bank Austria and Raiffeisen Bank
International are big players in Bulgaria.
Bakker was asked about separate moves by the government of
Hungary to get banks to swallow more costs for foreign-exchange
loans that went sour on borrowers when the forint currency
He said the IMF had "taken note" of the proposals but played
down the impact on Austrian banks.
"Of course this could increase losses made in Hungary and
any country where profits go down or losses go up of course does
not help the Austrian banks, but in the bigger picture it is not
the most important country," he said.
Nowotny said the measures risked putting "quite strong
burdens" again on Austrian and other lenders in Hungary.
"The Austrian banks and other banks have clearly been
willing to cooperate in solving the problems involved with this
but ... it is also clearly in the interest of the Hungarian
economy to have banks that are well capitalised and that are
able to provide for adequate loans," he said.
"It is in the enlightened self-interest of the Hungarian
government to have a coordinated (approach) in this field."
Hungary's government moved on Friday to reduce bank charges
on foreign currency mortgages, submitting legislation to
parliament that could also help people with similar concerns
about their forint loans.
Banks in Hungary include units of Belgium's KBC,
Austria's Raiffeisen and Erste Group, Italy's
UniCredit and Intesa Sanpaolo, and German-owned MKB
(Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by John Stonestreet and