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Finance Ministry: 36 banks 'too big to fail'

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Photo: DPA
07:53 CET+01:00
The German Finance Ministry on Tuesday revealed exactly how many banks are on its official list of financial institutions considered "relevant to the national system" - though their names remain a closely guarded secret.

Following an official information request from Green Party finance policy spokesman Gerhard Schick, the Financial Ministry revealed that 36 specific banks are considered important to the German financial system, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported.

Each institution on the list, which likely includes big names like Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank and HypoVereinsbank, as well as the state banks, has been asked to present an action plan by the end of 2013, outlining its crisis strategy.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said after the request was announced in November that he would like to pass a law legally requiring the banks to do so.

But Schick criticised the fact that proportionally too much time was being spent supervising small banks than big banks.

Deutsche Bank, for example, accounts for 23 percent of the country's total banking assets but has just four percent of the ministry's experts watching over it, Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote. While small banks, which together account for eight percent of banking assets, have been assigned 20 percent of overseers.

Schick told the paper that “proportionally, big banks are seriously under-observed.”

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He added that incidents like the Libor scandal highlighted just how much intensive observation should be going into big banks from the government.

The Local/jcw

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