Austria follows Germany in raising deposit guarantee

VIENNA, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Austria will follow Germany in guaranteeing deposits of retail savers, Finance Minister Wilhelm Molterer said on Sunday, but he left open up to which amount the guarantee would be granted.

Molterer said he would discuss the step in a meeting of European Union finance ministers Monday and Tuesday and would make a concrete proposal in Wednesday’s government meeting.

“From the Austrian point of view there would be no need, our banks are well positioned,” Molterer said in an interview with state TV broadcaster ORF.

“But I will propose that we raise the deposit guarantee as well” to ensure Austrian savings are not withdrawn and transferred to Germany,” he said.

Deposits are currently guaranteed up to an amount of 20,000 euros ($27,720) in Austria. There are several programs for commercial, cooperative and savings banks, some of which voluntarily offer a higher guarantee already.

A spokesman for the finance ministry confirmed that a decision regarding the new level of the deposit guarantee would be made only after the EU finance minister meeting. (Reporting by Boris Groendahl; Editing by Kenneth Barry)