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EU wants bondholders to share bank bailout costs

And Sheila Bair is pushing for the same in the U.S...

We write so much about this issue because it really is the cornerstone of the bank bailout debate - who pays for the losses?   You the taxpayer vs. the investors (shareholders and bondholders) that funded the bank.  It would seem an obvious choice, but it has not played out that way, anywhere except Iceland.


Bank bondholders in the crossfire

Source - AP

BRUSSELS – The European Union is moving ahead with plans to shield taxpayers from having to bail out big banks in the future, but there are substantial obstacles to making bondholders share losses.

The EU's executive Commission on Thursday presented plans that could give national regulators the power to force the owners of bank bonds to accept so-called haircuts — a reduction in the amount of money they are owed.

But the Commission stressed that any new bond rules would not affect existing debts — an issue that is closely watched in Ireland, where the government's commitment to guarantee struggling banks' debts pushed the country to the brink of default.

The EU proposal forms part of a larger package designed to give regulators the tools to deal with banking crises and keep institutions from becoming too big to fail.

"Although our first objective is better prevention, banks will fail in the future and must be able to do so without bringing down the whole of the financial system," Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier said in a statement. "That is why we must put in place a system which ensures that Europe is well prepared to deal with bank failures in an orderly manner — without taxpayers being called on again to pay the costs."

Any new rules for bondholders are unlikely to become law before 2013 and would then be phased in over time, EU officials said. They also have to be approved by EU governments and the European Parliament.

The plans, which are now open for discussion ahead of a legislative proposal in early summer, follow a similar initiative to make private creditors take losses when governments, rather than banks, are being bailed out. That decision triggered turmoil on government bond markets in the fall and has been blamed for worsening Dublin's troubles to the point where it had to seek a euro67.5 billion rescue loan.

Should the EU indeed manage to push through the new banking regulation, it could fundamentally transform the way banks fund their operations, as buying their debt would become much riskier.

During the financial crisis that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers, private creditors were spared in all bailouts of European banks.

Bondholders usually lose money only when a bank declares insolvency, a move that European regulators skirted in fear of the consequences a failure might have on financial stability at a time when markets were already panicking. Instead, governments pumped billions of euros into struggling firms, shouldering taxpayers with massive burdens while bondholders walked away unharmed.

Although Commissioner Barnier has stressed many times that making taxpayers take on the cost of banks' risky bets in the future is unacceptable, EU officials said that they haven't yet decided on how best to substitute bailouts with so-called bail-ins.

"In this respect, the consultation is particularly open," an EU official said. "We're aware of the legal and practical challenges." The official didn't want to be quoted by name in line with department policy.

The Commission is considering either giving regulators the power to impose haircuts, or requiring banks to include clauses in a certain proportion of their bonds that would allow them to be converted into equity. In contrast to bondholders, shareholders took substantial losses in bank bailouts, as firms' market valuation sank and government stakes diluted the value of their shares.

"Being able to convert even a small fraction of bank bonds to equity can double or even treble the capital of a troubled bank overnight," said Sony Kapoor, director of Re-Define, a think tank that lobbies for banking reform. "The proposals may increase the cost of funding for financial institutions, but that may be no bad thing since banks have enjoyed implicitly subsidized borrowing costs that encouraged excessive leverage."

The Commission emphasized that a bail-in of private creditors would go hand in hand with a fundamental restructuring of a bank, including selling or winding down certain businesses.

The EU's executive also wants to give regulators the power to intervene early once they decide that a bank might become too big to fail, allowing them to change the management or ruling out certain business practices. It also hopes to improve coordination between national regulators when a bank that operates in several countries runs into trouble.

During the credit crunch, authorities struggled to come up with coherent measures when cross-border banks such as Fortis or Dexia threatened to collapse.

Reprinted with permission.


CNBC Video - E.D. Rothschild with Maria Bartiromo

Our earlier story on the IMF bailout for billionaire bondholders uncovered that the Rothschild Group is one of the Anglo-Irish bank creditors getting paid 100 cents on the dollar by U.S. taxpayers (thru the IMF) for their failed investments.  So let's hear some bank-loving nonsense from E.D. Rothschild himself.  Notice the date on both clips.  This one came after Congress passed TARP, and Rothschild seems quite relieved that bank bondholders were not asked to take any losses.

  • "Let's get back to capitalism for the good of all..."
  • At 1:35 - "You have to face up to the fact that you couldn't let these people (banks) collapse..."

Really?  Why is that E.D.?  Of course we could have and should have let them collapse.  Every single one of them.  Then prosecute for fraud.  Then jail time.  Bust some bank-bondholder ass.  Then we should have used the $700 billion allocated for TARP to create 7 new banks with $100 billion in capital each.  I wasn't alone in making this suggestion.  Nobel winner Joseph Stiglitz said the same thing as did others.

'Capitalism for the good of all' my ass, E.D.  It was crony communism for the good of you, your family, and the global banking elite.  Go sell your lies somewhere else, because the righteous economic blogoshpere is not buying this steaming pile of shite.





Further reading and viewing...

VIDEO - Banking Troglodytes Cowen & Lenihan Show Respect For BillionaireBondholders

May God Protect Global Bankers: Irish Leaders Castigated As Greatest Traitors Of All Time

Sheila Bair Proposes New Rules for Failed Banks Requiring Bondholders To Suffer Losses (Finally!)

William Buiter Says Bank Bondholders Must Be Held Accountable

VIDEO - Sir Evelyn de Rothschild On The Global Financial Crisis And The Absolute Necessity Of Protecting Billionaire Bank Bondholders

UK Lord Norman Lamont On Ireland's IMF Bailout For BillionaireBondholders (VIDEO)






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Reader Comments (7)

UK Lord Norman Lamont On Ireland's IMF Bailout For Billionaire Bondholders (VIDEO) »

Jan 13, 2011 at 5:25 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail

« Dylan Ratigan Absolutely Annihilates The Legacy Of Larry Summers While Steve Rattner Sits 3 Ft. Away 'In Denial' »
Jan 13, 2011 at 5:26 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
« "Bank Stress Tests Prove The EU & ECB Believe In Father Christmas, The Easter Bunny And Other Munificent Deities" »

Jan 13, 2011 at 5:27 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
« VIDEO - Banking Troglodytes Cowen & Lenihan Show Respect For Billionaire Bondholders »

Jan 13, 2011 at 5:28 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
« Sheila Bair Proposes New Rules For Failed Banks Requiring Bondholders To Suffer Losses (Finally!) »

Jan 13, 2011 at 5:31 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
« An Alternative To Treasury Bailouts: One That Aggressively Hurts Bank Bondholders (Janet Tavakoli) »

Jan 13, 2011 at 5:32 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
These guys never had their father beat on them for stealing. just repremanded for getting caught , maybe.
Jan 14, 2011 at 7:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterHoward T. Lewis III

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