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Raiffeisen Branch to Leave Austria?

Published: April 11, 2014; 14:50 · (Vindobona)

One of the provincial units of Raiffeisen Group, regional lender Raiffeisen Landesbank Oberösterreich (RLB OÖ), is considering relocating its headquarters to Germany.

Raiffeisen calls for a reduction of the bank levy. / Picture: © Raiffeisen Bank International

The announcement was made shortly after Erste Group publicly announced considering relocating its headquarters to the Czech Republic. According to general manager Heinrich Schaller, the relocation of the headquarters always had to be an option. “It would be economically negligent if I did not consider a relocation of our group headquarters an option,” Schaller told “Oberösterreichische Nachrichten” in an interview on Friday.

According to the head of RLB OÖ, RLB would only pay slightly above € 5m in bank levy while in Austria it was € 34m. The regional lender will not move entirely. However, some of the staff units will be concerned by the relocation. “The close proximity to our costumers is important for us. And, of course, they would not notice anything by such a measure,” Schaller said. The general manager of RLB OÖ called for a reduction in the levy and a clarification how long it will be charged. Moreover, he considers offsetting of other burdens for financial institutes as necessary.

Schaller is convinced that “we are not the only bank examining a relocation abroad.” Only this week Czech President Milos Zeman announced that listed Austrian Erste Group is considering relocating its headquarters from Vienna to Prague. However, on inquiry the bank’s headquarters referred to the fact that currently a new central for more than 4,000 employees is under construction and is expected to be completed in 2016.