ALPBACH, Austria Aug 28 Ukraine's political
crisis and a Russian economic downturn pose major risks for some
Austrian banks with big exposure there, the country's Financial
Market Authority (FMA) watchdog said on Thursday.
"Ukraine, Russia - that is a serious problem," FMA co-head
Helmut Ettl told reporters, adding the supervisor was keeping a
close eye on the situation because Russia was a "fundamental
source of profit for one or two groups in Austria".
He did not name them, but Raiffeisen Bank International
and UniCredit Bank Austria rely heavily on
income from Russia, which is locked in a political standoff with
Ukraine over a separatist revolt Kiev is trying to quash.
"If economic developments in Russia worsen, it is to be
expected that additional risks arise at our big banks that are
active there and that the earnings power of these groups active
there falls massively," fellow FMA co-head Klaus Kumpfmueller
Ettl also dismissed suggestions that Austrian banks that get
in trouble could rely on more state support.
"I think there is a government consensus that no more state
aid will be paid," he said, after lender Volksbanken
said it was working on ways to plug any capital holes that
(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Mark Potter)