Minister confirms €193m loss on bank bail-outs in 2012

The Netherlands lost €193m last year on the state support it gave financial service companies during 2008 and 2009, finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem confirmed on Thursday evening, Dutch media report.

The economic downturn and the need for banks to build up their buffers – reducing the financial room to pay dividends – are behind the loss, the finance minister said in a note to MPs.
This year the state will also make a loss on the loans, Dijsselbloem said. In 2011, by contrast, the state made a 17% return on the €10bn loan to ING and 18% on its bailout of Aegon.
The minister first commented on the loss at a New Year reception for the Labour party on Wednesday, but sent a more detailed briefing to parliament yesterday following criticism from MPs they had been kept in the dark.
The loss stems from the fact the interest rate the state is paying on the loans to the banks is now higher than the dividends and interest paid by the banks.
RTL news said on Thursday afternoon the minister’s comments had caused a great deal of confusion.
In 2011, the state earned €1.6bn on the loans but this had been all but wiped out last year. But in 2013, the government had expected to spend €1.17bn on interest but to get back €1.33bn in interest and dividends.
Now the government is not expecting to make a profit, questions are being asked about what has changed, RTL said. One theory is that the state will bail out SNS bank, which is in financial trouble over its property investments, the broadcaster said.

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