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FINANCIAL CRISIS

Sweden to enter talks with banks

Sweden's government is to meet with representatives of the country's major banks on Thursday in a bid to understand the banks' refusal to join a state-sponsored lending guarantee scheme.

So far only Swedbank has joined the programme, introduced as part of a package of measures to boost financial stability, while the other big Swedish banks — Nordea, Handelsbanken and SEB — have remained on the sidelines.

“It is important that we create a dialogue about what the problems consist of,” Finance Minister Anders Borg told journalists.

Borg repeated his comment that the government would consider various other, unspecified measures to improve the functioning of the system and induce the banks to join it if this proved necessary, but declined to provide any specifics.

EUROPEAN UNION

Sweden ‘can live with’ EU bank deal: Borg

Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg has said that he could accept the deal agreed in Brussels in the early hours of Thursday morning regarding how to deal with troubled banks.

Sweden 'can live with' EU bank deal: Borg

“As a balanced compromise we can live with this,” Borg said after the marathon meeting of EU finance ministers.

Borg expressed hope however of some adjustment to the deal in forthcoming negotiations with the European Parliament.

“I think that there is further work in trialogue that can move this forward, especially when it comes to using direct recapitalization by shareholders in the banks. There are further opportunities for improvement,” he said.

“But this is a significant step forward, and that means that in practice we have a solution for Swedish banks,” he added.

The deal basically reaffirms the so-called “bail-in” rule – meaning that banks are primarily saved by using their own resources, shareholders or even depositors.

“This establishes bail-in as the new rule. The goal is to have a common view on the matter throughout Europe so that our taxpayers will no longer have to shoulder the burden,” said Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan according to AFP.

Although it is primarily shareholders and financiers who will be tapped for money, depositors with more than €100,000 also carry a risk of having to contribute.

“Swedish companies may very well become involved in paying for crisis-hit banks in ways that have not previously been the case. It will put more pressure on banks to act prudently. Both shareholders and their financiers will have to bear some of the risk,” Borg said.

States will however retain the possibility to intervene and save troubled banks.

“The Swedish government will go in when it comes to Swedish banks. Then Swedish taxpayers have an interest to act, if it creates serious risk of a long economic decline and high costs in terms of unemployment,” Borg said.

TT/The Local/pvs

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