Raiffeisen: We can do without a liquidity infusion

Publish date: 16-02-2009
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Raiffeisen Bank Romania, the Austrian player which is one of the top five largest lenders in Romania, with exposure on real estate of less than 15 percent of its portfolio, said it can do without the liquidity injection that Austrian banks are expecting from the European Commission (EC).

The local subsidiary of Raiffeisen Bank is waiting for Romania's image to improve, through a rise in the country's rating, and an effort by the National Bank of Romania (BNR) and an international institution to help weather the crisis.

"We are not talking about a capital infusion plan in banks. We do not need capital, and if we needed capital this is the shareholder's obligation, which is non-negotiable. As a bank, we can very well survive without all kinds of liquidity infusion plans," Raiffeisen Bank Romania's President, Steven van Groningen, told Business Standard.

Last week Austrian's Minister of Finance, Josef Proell, tested Bucharest's reaction to the idea that Austria is requesting the European Commission to offer financial support for banks with exposure in Eastern Europe, including Romania. The amount is supposed to be €150 billion, double the Romanian banking system assets.

"If we want to continue the lending process and have a soft landing, we have to have access to resources. [...] If until now, every month and every year we brought money to the country with which we financed consumption and investments in industry, and if this process were to stop abruptly, this will obviously have a great impact on the economy," said van Groningen. The President of Raiffeisen Bank Romania admits that lenders are partly responsible for solving the lending problem, but their liability is limited, considering that the price of foreign resources has risen by 6-7 percentage points, and the downgrading of Romania and the cost of the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) has made financial investors think twice about placing their money on the local market.

Business Standard

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