German bank bailout fund posts first ever full-year profit | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 13.05.2013
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German bank bailout fund posts first ever full-year profit

Germany's state-owned fund for the rescue of ailing lenders (SoFFin) has logged decent earnings as the capital stock of lenders is improving step by step. But taxpayers' risks are still deemed high.

The German bank bailout fund, SoFFin, announced Monday it booked a profit of 580 million euros ($752 million) for 2012, after logging losses of 13.1 billion euros in the previous year mainly due to the restructuring of Greek bonds.

SoFFin was set up in 2008 at the height of the global financial crisis in a bid to rescue struggling German lenders from looming bankruptcy. The fund's chief, Christopher Pleister, said on Monday the financial situation had improved markedly in recent months.

#video#"With German lenders now having far fewer liquidity worries, the risks for taxpayers to foot the whole bill have decreased," Pleister commented.

Drop in the ocean?

The bailout fund had stepped into action to rescue Hypo Real Estate, Commerzbank and other German lenders.

With the banking crisis lasting longer than expected, the SoFFin scheme was extended by two more years in November 2012.

The bailout fund got back about 87 percent of the banks' rescue loans by the end of last year, with 3.7 billion euros yet to be reimbursed. All in all, SoFFin has accumulated losses of 21.5 billion euros since it was called into being. Final bottom-line results will only become known in a couple of years when all outstanding financial transactions have been completed.

hg/hc (AFP, Reuters, dpa)