Spain to request multi-billion euro credit line for troubled banks | News | DW | 23.06.2012
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Spain to request multi-billion euro credit line for troubled banks

The Spanish bank bailout has reached a crucial stage with Madrid drafting a formal request to the eurozone.

The Spanish government is preparing final figures for its formal request to eurozone partners for a credit line of as much as 100 billion euro ($125 billion) to shore up its troubled banks.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is discussing the bailout and eurozone measures with German government colleagues over the weekend.

"Each country wants to help but if I am going to call on taxpayers in Germany, I must have guarantees that all is under control. Responsibility and control go hand in hand," Merkel said in Rome after meeting leaders from Spain, France and Italy.

"If I give money straight to Spanish banks, I can't control what they do. That is how the treaties are written," the chancellor added.

The money from the eurozone to the Spanish government would be used to cover Spanish lenders' problem loans, especially in property.

Hardest hit bank Bankia, the merged group of seven savings banks, has called for 19 billion euros of emergency capital support and is being nationalized. However, the three biggest banks - Santander, BBVA and Caixabank - do not need outside help, according to Spanish officials and regulators.

Mortgages in Spain account for 62 percent of the value of the homes they are secured on, compared with an equivalent figure of 100 percent in Ireland.

However, there are concerns that too much attention has been paid to the property loans and not enough to consequences of the economic problems and rising unemployment on consumer loans.

Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), warned before the Rome summit that the eurozone is under "acute stress" and at risk of a downward spiral.

"The viability of the European monetary system is questioned. There must be a recapitalization of the weak banks," she said.

The next stage in Spain's bank restructuring is for four accounting firms - Deloitte, PwC, Ernst & Young and KPMG - to complete a comprehensive analysis of loan portfolios by the end of July.

The analysis is intended to provide the basis for another, more detailed test by end-September to work out how much capital each bank needs. Banks will then prepare recapitalization plans by mid-October and will have a maximum of nine months to carry them out.

jm/ncy (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)