The Austrian government has resolved upon a bundle of measures aimed at safeguarding the solid domestic banking system against the consequences of the global financial crisis and at strengthening confidence in the Austrian capital market. The measures shall secure better access to liquidity. Liquidity shall be provided by means of a guarantee by the Republic of Austria covering the issuance of securities by domestic banks. Furthermore, measures are planned to improve the equity basis of Austrian banks. The bundle of measures is therefore comparable to the programme announced by the British government last week.
Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich AG (RZB), the majority shareholder of Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG, which owns 99,945% per cent in ZAO «Raiffeisenbank», welcomes the measures proposed by the Austrian government. «The measures strengthen the Austrian banks in international competition and at the same time increase customer confidence in the stability of the banking market, as well as trust among the banks themselves», said Walter Rothensteiner, Chairman of RZB’s Managing Board. He also praised the efforts of the team involved in preparing the measures in the Austrian Finance Ministry.
«RZB will examine the proposed measures and accept those parts that are best for our customers, shareholders and employees. The package can support RZB in better fulfilling its very own task, namely to efficiently allocate funds for its customers.»
No two-class society
RZB is able to reach its objectives for 2008 regarding core capital without guarantees and capital injections from the state. Nevertheless, it aims at avoiding a two-class society in the European finance sector — one class of banks backed by state guarantees and another one without that support.
«Banks have recently lost trust based on rumours and assumptions alone, irrespective of their actual access to liquidity and capital. This government package came just at the right time, supporting a sector without which the economy could not be,» said Rothensteiner. «Austrian banks offer their customers exceptionally good service at favourable rates, compared with other European countries. Being the avant-garde in economic development in Central and Eastern Europe, Austria’s banks contribute significantly to the country’s excellent economic position on these markets.»
Raiffeisen International operates one of the largest banking networks in CEE. 17 markets in Europe’s growth region are covered by subsidiary banks, leasing companies and a range of other financial service providers. In more than 3,000 business outlets 14.4 million customers are served. Raiffeisen International is a fully consolidated subsidiary of Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich AG (RZB), which owns more than two thirds of the common stock. The remainder is in free float, the shares are listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange.
RZB is the central institution of the Austrian Raiffeisen Banking Group, the country’s largest banking group. It is a leading corporate and investment bank in Austria and also considers Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) as its home market. RZB is the only Austrian bank with a global network of business units reaching all important finance centres around the globe. It is also present in Asia via its branches and representative offices.