The past week has seen the nationalization of two banks by governments, one of which is the oldest bank in the world. Several more have been fined for interest rate fixing, with JPMorgan Chase obliged to pay almost $33 mln to Switzerland.
Italy forecasts domino effect
“Italy is doing now what other countries have done many years ago to sustain their banking system,” Jacopo Ceccatelli, CEO of a Milan broker commented about the bailout of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the world’s first bank.
Paschi failed to raise €5 bln in loans, and is now being nationalized in a move unheard of in Italy since the 1930s, Bloomberg reports.
“We will see if other banks ask for aid,” Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan commented on the situation. It is likely they will, as the government has already set aside €21 bln in bailout funds as banks deal (or don’t deal) with €360 bln of bad loans.
Friday saw Paschi’s stock trading suspended, while some investors will only be offered stock worth 75 percent of their investment. “Overall it’s good news; finally we are heading toward a solution,” Ceccatelli hopefully added.
This week also saw Ukraine nationalize its biggest lender, Privatbank, after the damage wrought by insider lending brought risks of “chaos” if the government did not step in.
Nine banks guilty of rate fixing
Meanwhile, the Swiss Competition Commission has issued fines to several banks worth 45.3 mln francs ($44.1 mln). In a press release issued regarding the investigation, the SCC said four banks had entered into an “amicable agreement,” while “proceedings continue” against another five banks.
Together, nine of the world’s household names were involved in the interest rate cartel. Among them is BNP Paribas, which this week also completed its first international Blockchain payment.
It added that Deutsche Bank received full immunity for reporting the existence of the cartel. “The cartel aimed at distorting the normal course of pricing components for interest rate derivatives in euro,” the statement explained.