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Erste blames bank levy for 88% drop in profits

Vienna-based Erste Bank has hit back against tax burdens for Austrian banks after seeing their profits decline by 88% last year.

In a statement released yesterday, Erste Bank announced that their total income had fallen from 483.5 million euros in 2012 to just 60 million euros last year.

Struggling economies in eastern European countries are putting the pressure on the Austrian bank. Erste is also not able to realise as much as profit due to banking levies in the country, they have said.

"This is directly related to the persistently high banking tax burden on the Austrian tax group as well as goodwill writedowns over the past years," the bank said in the statement.

The banking levy introduced in 2011 by Austria has received criticism from banks in the country who feel they are already under pressure from slow recovery conditions in Europe following the financial crisis.

An increase in the levy announced earlier this year as part of the coalitions tax package means it is due to raise just under 650 million Euros in 2014.

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