We're Banking in Greece - Austria

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Despite the financial crisis Greece is facing, and the huge bailout it’s just received, Austria's top banks pledge to stay in Greece. The finance minister says the alternative to the bailout for Greece was "catastrophe... Lehman ll."

Austria's top five banks have pledged to stay invested in Greece and not try and gain from speculating against the debt-stricken country.

The head of the country's banking association, Walter Rothensteiner, also chief executive of cooperative bank RZB, met Finance Minister Josef Proell on Monday.

Representatives of the five biggest banks in Austria were present.

Rothensteiner says they agreed to hold on to existing investments in Greece.

Finance Minister Proell says the alternative to the 110 billion euro bailout from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union would have been a catastrophe for the euro zone.

[Josef Proell, Austrian Finance Minister]:
"This is why one cannot try out Lehman II.”

When Lehman Brothers collapsed the world's financial markets were hit.

[Josef Proell, Austrian Finance Minister]:
"We are sending a clear signal that Europe is able to act, a clear signal to the financial markets that we will not leave anyone on their own and that we have to avoid (the crisis to spread) bush fire.”

The message to all banks, he says, is not to speculate against Greece.

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