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Eastern Europe drags Erste bank to 1 bil. euro loss in 2nd quarter

VIENNA--Austria's largest bank Erste Group announced on Thursday its heaviest quarterly loss since 2011 after writing off assets in Romania and being hit by new Hungarian loan rules.

Net losses amounted to 1.03 billion euros (US$1.3 billion) in the second quarter, down from a net profit of 125.5 million euros a year ago, the bank said in a statement.

The Vienna-based bank, active across eastern Europe, had warned earlier in July it expected to suffer a net loss of 1.6 billion euros in 2014.

Erste Group said its poor performance was put down to heavy write-offs in Romania and Hungary's introduction of stiffer rules on loans, as well as steeper taxes on the banking sector.

In the first half of the year, it reported a net loss of 929.7 million euros.

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