Erste Group Bank’s Romanian arm BCR, the country’s biggest bank, neither needs nor wants capital from the Romanian government, Erste CEO Andreas Treichl was quoted as saying on Monday.
Austria-based Erste, the third biggest lender in emerging Europe, also has not finished talks with the Austrian government about its plan for a €2.7 billion ($3.5 billion) capital injection and could still decide against it, Treichl said. “We don’t need capital from Romania and we don’t want it either,” Treichl was quoted as saying in an interview with weekly magazine Profil. “I’m already having enough of a difficult time negotiating the Austrian capital injection.”
Treichl’s remarks come as fears of banking instability in emerging Europe have prompted calls for home-grown bank rescue packages in the region on top of those in the home countries of the western banks dominating the region. Treichl also said he had to take care of his shareholders’ interests in talks with the Austrian government and would call off a planned capital injection if conditions were too onerous.
“We are not a loss-making bank that needs to be nationalized, we are only trying to raise capital ratios in the quickest way,” he said. “The state is one option for that. But if this were to create the impression the state was meddling, nobody would buy our shares anymore,” he added. “In this case we wouldn’t take the state capital.” (Reuters)