Banks confront the property bubble

Published on 9 May 2012 at 13:30

The rescue of Spain's second largest savings bank Bankia, announced by Mariano Rajoy’s government on May 6, has sounded an alarm about the situation of Spanish banks: "20 billion euros of toxic assets do not come from the banks," calculated El País, which underlined that 85 billion euros worth of assets correspond to loans. According to the Madrid daily, these are-

the Achilles heel of Spanish banks. Toxic assets due to real estate continue to rise, and there are more and more buildings on banks' balance sheets that have been acquired as a result of unpaid loans.

"Is Germany to blame for the housing bubble in Spain?" in turn asks ABC. The newspaper quotes a report from a Japanese bank, Nomura, which states that German and French banks had a role in the current situation-

the policy of low interest rates that the European Central Bank (ECB) applied in the years preceding the crisis has helped the moribund German economy to recover, but it was also a decisive factor that caused housing bubbles in peripheral European countries, [...] exacerbated by capital flows from the German and French banks.

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To address the risk of bankruptcy of banks exposed to toxic assets related to real estate, the government "requires [the banks] to put aside larger provisions" for such credits, concludes El País.

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