UPDATE 1-Senior Raiffeisen banker sees steady dividends at RBI


* Says steady dividends and repaying state aid not a problem

* Buchleitner says RLB Niederoesterreich doesn't need capital (Adds quotes and background)

VIENNA, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) can keep its dividends unchanged and still be able to repay Austrian state aid by an end-2017 deadline, a senior Raiffeisen banker said on Thursday.

"I do expect steady dividends at RBI," said Klaus Buchleitner, an RBI supervisory board member who heads Raiffeisenlandesbank Niederoesterreich Wien, the provincial lender that is the biggest shareholder in RBI parent Raiffeisen Zentralbank.

RBI raised its 2012 dividend by 12 cents to 1.17 euros per share even though its profit last year fell by around a quarter, but Buchleitner said that did not strike him as an especially high payout in historical context.

Central and eastern Europe's second-biggest lender raised the dividend because it considered 2012 results "respectable" and to pass on part of 272 million euros in extraordinary gains it made early in the year, it said in February.

The Raiffeisen group raised 2.5 billion euros in non-voting participation capital after the financial crisis broke out, of which 1.75 billion came from the state and the rest from private investors. The capital counts as core tier 1 capital under international and Austrian rules only until the end of 2017.

Buchleitner told reporters Raiffeisenlandesbank Niederoesterreich Wien - one of six Austrian lenders to come under direct supervision of the European Central Bank after stress tests next year - had no need for extra capital.

But he said it was still unclear exactly what rules the European Banking Authority would apply for the process of giving banks' balance sheets the all-clear signal on a tight deadline.

He likened the procedure to "children needing to start school on Monday but we don't know what school".

Raiffeisenlandesbank Niederoesterreich Wien' goal was to boost operating profit to around 150-160 million euros by 2016 from an estimated 80-90 million this year, he said.

He declined to discuss prospects for a capital increase at Raiffeisen Bank International, which has said a share issue is one option it is considering to shore up its balance sheet.

But he said Raiffeisenlandesbank Niederoesterreich Wien would not need to make writedowns on its balance sheet should RBI decide to go ahead with a capital increase.

($1 = 0.7367 euros) (Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Georgina Prodhan and Elaine Hardcastle)



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