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Europe Finance Ministers Announce ‘Spring Offensive’

By Tom
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Europe Finance Ministers Announce 'Spring Offensive'

Europe’s finance ministers announces spring offensive. In Britain the Chancellor of the Exchequer Mr. George Osborne has angry words: Quote: The Chancellor pledges today to “reset” Britain’s banking system, warning that banks will be broken up if they ignore orders to ringfence their investment and retail banking divisions.

At the same time in Germany:

Bundesfinanzminister Wolfgang Schäuble is his usual smooth tongued, and presents a proposal:


The basic idea with the law is the banks are not allowed to use depositor’s savings to finance their own speculation in f.i. currency- or commodities market. The trading should be cut off legally and economically. Detail banks can however on behalf of customers perform such business if f.i. a company wants to secure against exchange rate – or price variations.

Estimated ten to 12 German banks will be targeted by the proposal that was forwarded on Wednesday according to Schaüble, continuing: They should separate risky financial business on their own behalf in daughter companies. Besides: The managers are threatened with up to five years imprisonment in case of gross negligence in risk management.

”We know that the overdone deregulation was a mistake”, Schäuble said with respect to the Financial Crisis that had governments worldwide saving banks to secure citizen depositors, Furthermore the law demands a ”testament” in advance by the bank inspection as to how the monetary institution in the event of a future crisis can fold without tax money.

While in Spain the present focus is on tax-evaders – especially the amnesty offered:

Comment: Better wait for the funds that fled to return – before offering any amnesty. The move parallels similar moves in other Eruopean countries half a year ago with “clemency” expiring end of June 2013.

In the Netherlands it seems like the nationalisation of the mortgage bank SNS Reaal NV (AMS:SR) has taken focus. And if depositors could be saved.

De Telegraaf:

In Italy some manipulation charges appear to move into court:

La Stampa:

In Denmark the banking debate has been centred on Danske Bank A/S (CPH:DANSKE) (PINK:DNSKY) and its move to demand a fee on small accounts and holders of the Dankort. I.e. very basic services for clients with very small need for a bank. The ´Social Democrats were out in force all over the blogosphere demanding that the banks step down or legislative measures would be taken. Apparently it ended in harmonious hatred where neither party have published details.

What apparently surprised Danske Bank was the outcry – their Facebook-profile was smashed and only an edited sample of reactions was kept. But judging from what actually stayed on the homepage the hostility must have been quite severe – I got ignored long before reaching the really frank and openhearted stage.

Danske Bank A/S (CPH:DANSKE) (PINK:DNSKY) of course mobilised their claques and tame journalists on all the forums and blogs. Some of them were taking their sweet time accepting comments at all. One debater, known to be average person, replied to a claque: “You really don’t understand how hated You are!”

The general message to Danske Bank A/S (CPH:DANSKE) (PINK:DNSKY) by the beer modulated popular soul was: “DIE!”

At the same time the Voxmeter pollsters recorded the lowest corporate image score – ever – by a rather large margin.

The brief announcements leading up to the annual reports have generally for the last 3-4 months been quite large impairments to local banks. These banks have about 10% agricultural loans on their portfolio; loans known to be – if not in distress – then severely stressed. The interesting part is however that the impairments have been centred on real estate where developers, realtors and that ilk have been chopped. Having lost count – we are roughly in the 1-2 bio. DKK in total range on a number of small banks and a couple of takeovers.


Though the actual subjects are different in different countries in the EU the general lines pursued are similar – significantly the EU has started dealing with the major banks and issues – each in their own way: Germany has with usual tact and delicacy regularly a battalion of police officers raiding Deutsche Bank AG (ETR:DBK) (FRA:DBK) (NYSE:DB) in the early hours of the morning. Italy bogging everything down in court, Spain exchanging slander and accusations …… so the situation is more or less normal with work proceeding according to national preference.

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