Danish Bank in `Northern Rock' Crisis;
30 Others Being Watched
COPENHAGEN, July 11, 2008 (EIRNS)For only the second time since World War II, the Danish National Bank has had to extend an extraordinary credit line to a commercial bank, this time to the medium-sized regional Roskilde Bank, one of the ten largest banks in Denmark. The credit line is for 1 million euros, for a period of six months. According to financial insiders, this is the opening shot of a financial crisis which will have a deeper and broader impact on the Denmark's national economy, than Northern Rock did in Great Britain.
Today during a press conference, Roskilde Bank declared that they were faced with insolvency because of the need to write off bad loans, especially those extended for the housing sector. To avoid a run on Roskilde, the Danish National Bank, which functions more like a central bank, decided to issue the credit line. The bank is now looking for buyers to buy all or parts of the bank. Roskilde's depositors are insured, but the stockholders are not. Today, the value of Roskilde Bank's stock plummeted by 37%. In the year since April 2007, stockholders in the bank have lost 1 billion euros.
According to our source in the banking world, firstly, this is peanuts compared to the fact that the U.S. mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are faced with insolvency. If people in the U.S. would think through the consequences of that, they would realize that we are in the midst of the greatest financial crisis ever yet they are taking their vacations as if nothing was up.
As for Roskilde Bank, he said that this is just the first sign that the Danish mortgage carrousel where investors have been buying and selling mortgage-based securities from and to each other, based on geared investments is grinding to a halt. Danish companies which have made geared investments in Roskilde bank, are now faced with owing more money (which they borrowed to buy the bank stock) than their stock in the bank is worth. Business commentators are speculating about which Danish bank will be next. Thirty of the country's 47 banks are already on a watch list by the Danish Financial Oversight Institution, for too much exposure to the troubled housing and credit market. Three other banks announced write-offs today, and all banking stocks are in the red in stock market trading today.
After Roskilde Bank's press conference, the Financial Oversight Institution also held a press conference. In an analysis afterward, a professor from the Copenhagen Business School said that this is like Northern Rock and the U.S. crisis.