A rescue plan was announced today by the government of Spain in a bid to rescue the troubled Spanish Bank Bankia. The country’s plan involves Spain raising up to $29.5 billion. The move, which constitutes the country’s largest ever bank bailout, was made as the financial institution faced crisis and risked destabilizing the entire Eurozone.
Yesterday the European Central Bank had rejected a plan to bail out Bankia by offering them sovereign bonds which they could then have traded for cash with the central bank. The ECB said that the plan infringed on the European ban on central banks funding governments and so would not support it.
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The Spanish government had been in favor of that idea as it meant the country would not have to go to the financial markets seeking assistance. Spain’s precarious position among the European Union’s PIIGS as well as more recent struggles in the country have made their borrowing rate skyrocket.
Today’s plan sends them right to the financial markets with just the hope of being able to raise the full amount necessary to rescue Bankia. The institution has already received around $6 billion in state aid. The bank was partly nationalized earlier in May as it struggled with a huge amount of toxic debt, totaling around $40 billion, and declining international confidence in Spain along with the Eurozone as a whole. Bankia is Spain’s third largest bank.
The firm released a statement today saying it would treat all of the money it received from Spain’s government not as a loan, but as an investment for profit to be earned on. The company may find that prospect difficult as runs on deposits earlier in the month worth around $1 billion shook it to its foundations and portrayed the low level of consumer confidence in the country’s financial sector.
In a move that makes Facebook’s IPO look gentle Bankia debuted in July last year and has lost its shareholders almost the entirety of its value since that date. Ordinary Spaniards were involved in the purchase of 60 per cent of the stock in the bank which was promoted with a public advertising campaign.
There is at least as long a road ahead for Bankia as there is for Spain as a whole. It is just the latest in a series of European banks that have had to be subsumed by the State in order to prevent the collapse of the financial system.
This is yet another move that delays a total European crisis but does nothing for the continents outlook in the long term.