Submitted by Pater Tenebrarum – The Acting Man Blog
Portugal’s Rickety Banking System
After the unseemly bankruptcy of the Espirito Santo Group and the associated bank, then Portugal’s second biggest (likely a result of not praying enough, see: “Big Portuguese Bank Gets Into Trouble” and “Fears Over Banco Espirito Santo Escalate” for the gory details), Portugal’s state-run deposit insurance fund basically ran out of money.
It turns out that Europe’s new Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD for short) came just in time for Portugal. At the end of 2015, another Portuguese bank bit the dust, the country’s seventh largest lender by assets, Banif. Portugal’s government once again decided to bail the bank out, but with strings attached. Subordinated bondholders and shareholders were essentially wiped out, which is as it should be.
Banif SA, weekly. Although this is hard to see on this linear chart, the stock rose by 40% today, to €0.002. Shareholders are allegedly planning to throw a wild party in Lisbon over the weekend (we were unable to confirm this rumor) – click to enlarge.
Senior bondholders and depositors were spared however, with Portugal’s overburdened taxpayers once again footing the bill. According to the FT:
Portugal has agreed a €2.2bn state rescue for Banco International do Funchal (Banif), splitting the Madeira-based lender into “good” and “bad” banks and selling its healthy assets to Spain’s Santander for €150m in the country’s second bank bailout in less than 18 months.
António Costa, Portugal’s new socialist prime minister, said the bailout would involve “a high cost for taxpayers” but had the advantage of being “a definitive solution”. Branches would open normally on Monday, he said. The rescue, which “bails in” shareholders and subordinated creditors, follows the €4.9bn bailout in August last year of Banco Espírito Santo, once Portugal’s largest listed bank, whose healthy assets, split off into Novo Banco, remain unsold.
In a statement late on Sunday night, the Bank of Portugal said the rescue of Banif would involve “total public support” estimated at €2.25bn to cover “future contingencies”, of which €1.76bn would come directly from the state and €489m from a bank resolution fund, to which all banks contribute.The bailout protects depositors and senior creditors and ensures that Banif’s operations, transferred to Santander Totta, the Spanish group’s Portuguese subsidiary, will continue to “function normally”, the central bank said.
Shareholders and subordinated creditors would be left in Banif, retaining “a very restricted group of assets” that are to be liquidated, the Bank of Portugal said. “Problematic assets” would be transferred to a special asset management vehicle. The rescue partly mirrors the 2014 bailout of BES, which was split into “good” and “bad” banks after its profits were hit by exposure to the heavily indebted Espírito Santo family business empire.
Banif is Portugal’s seventh largest lender with total assets valued at €12.8bn in June, equivalent to about 7 per cent of Portugal’s gross domestic product, and deposits totalling €6.3bn. The bank is the dominant lender in the Portuguese islands of Madeira and the Azores, where it accounts for more than 30 per cent of total deposits.”
Since no deposits were wiped out as a result of the bail-out, Portugal’s money supply won’t be affected. However, Banif’s downfall is a reminder that Portugal’s banking system remains quite rickety. We dimly remember someone saying that the bail-out of BES would be the last such problem. Evidently it wasn’t. Continue reading