Spain is (not) different

Discussion in 'Economics' started by oriol88, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. oriol88


    Spain bails out first bank of financial crisis

    By Jason Webb

    MADRID (Reuters) - The Bank of Spain will bail out regional savings bank Caja Castilla la Mancha, the government said on Sunday, as a slumping property market forced the first banking rescue in Spain since the financial crisis began.

    The Bank of Spain, which will take over the running of CCM, will provide funds to help the bank backed by up to 9 billion euros ($12.06 billion) in government guarantees, Economy Minister Pedro Solbes told a news conference, adding that he hoped the final aid bill would be a fraction of that.

    "The Spanish financial system is enormously solid," Solbes said, calling CCM's problems an isolated liquidity problem and promising that the bank would meet all its obligations to creditors and depositors.

    But he refused to guarantee a trouble-free future for Spain's banks if the world financial crisis persists, particularly its regional savings banks that are heavily exposed to property developers struggling during a deep recession.

    "I feel pretty relaxed about the savings banks. Are they totally immune in the long term? If we keep having the liquidity problems we are seeing now I don't think anyone can say that," he said, as CCM joined a long list of banks on both sides of the Atlantic that have had to be rescued or nationalized.

    The latest bad financial news comes as financial markets await the outcome of Thursday's meeting of G20 leaders in London to address the economic and financial crisis.

    The Spanish government has already said it would guarantee up to 100 billion euros in new bank debt to assist institutions with liquidity problems.

    But until now, Spain's government had been able to boast that its banking system had avoided any bank, due to regulations that prevented them from investing in complex mortgage-backed securities. But many banks are highly exposed to a property market that is rapidly collapsing, pushing up their non-performing loans.


    Unlisted savings banks with close links to regional governments, like CCM, have long been spoken of as being most likely to succumb to trouble.

    The government had first hoped that CCM, which is heavily exposed to property developers in its central Spanish region, would be able to solve its problems via a merger with Andalusia-based Unicaja, together with help from the Deposit Guarantee Fund, Solbes said.

    Banks in the safest financial system of the world can't find a buyer. At least one that can go bankrupt.