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Raiffeisen latest bank to hint about moving abroad

The bank levy imposed by the Austrian state is fuelling anger among lenders in the country with the second suggestion in a week that banks are thinking about moving their headquarters abroad to avoid paying the extra tax.

The head of Raiffeisen bank, Heinrich Schaller, has said that the lender may move to Germany and "it would be negligent in business management terms" to not consider it at all.

The news follows that of Erste Group, who it is strongly believed are considering moving their offices to the Czech Republic capital Prague after the Czech president suggested as much last week.

Schaller has said that if they were to move to Germany, the cost of their bank levy would fall from 34 million EUR that is in Austria to just 5 million EUR. He also suggested that Raiffeisen is not the only bank in the country that is considering moving abroad.

Another main lender Bank Austria has called for talks to begin with the government over the issue.

The backlash from the banks has worried some commentators who fear the impact losing major players in the financial sector could have on the country.

"It seems that nobody in politics understands exactly how catastrophic the situation is in this country when we don't have any large banks," said political commentator Andreas Unterberger, writing on his blog about the Erste Bank.

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