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Banks start to receive billions in government loan guarantees

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Banks start to receive billions in government loan guarantees
Photo:DPA
10:31 CET+01:00
HSH Nordbank announced it had obtained up to €30 billion ($38.5 billion) in loan guarantees from the German government as part of a national rescue plan for the banking sector.

The regional bank reached a deal late on Friday with a special market stabilisation fund created by the government to help banks weather the world financial crisis.

Based in the port of Hamburg and the state of Schleswig-Holstein, the public bank had request government aid earlier this month.

“We are working on a series of concrete measures that will allow us to advance the future strategy of HSH Nordbank,” interim chief executive officer Dirk Jens Nonnenmacher said as the deal was announce.

Shareholders will “ensure that the bank benefits from equity accordingly,” the bank said in a statement, adding that it has “different tools” at its disposal, with the elimination of assets a top target.

The board of directors and shareholders will meet in the coming weeks to discuss their options, the statement said.

The former head of Nordbank, Hans Berger, resigned on November 10 due to the financial crisis, the bank said.

The bank announced earlier this month it would seek up to the same €30 billion figure in loan guarantees as part of the government's rescue plan.

“Some of the guarantees will underpin banking activities, the rest will be used as a buffer if fresh turmoil on financial markets makes it necessary to cover additional risks,” it said in a November 3 statement.

The bank said at the time it had recorded a net loss of €360 million in the third quarter of 2008.

It also wrote down the value of its assets by around one billion euros in the same period due to the bankruptcy of US investment bank Lehman Brothers and financial turmoil in Iceland.

Nordbank's announcement came after Germany's biggest state-owned regional bank, Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg (LBBW), said on Friday it might seek between €10 billion and €15 billion in loan guarantees from the government.

LBBW also said its owners—the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the city of Stuttgart and local savings banks—would provide € 5 billion in fresh capital.

Berlin's Financial Markets Stabilisation Fund offers up to €400 billion in guarantees to get the interbank lending market functioning again, and up to €80 billion in direct cash infusions to bolster bank's balance sheets.

Regional bank BayernLB was the first one to tap into the rescue package, getting a €5.4 billion capital injection from the government and one billion more from its regional shareholders.

Hypo Real Estate, Germany's biggest financial crisis casualty to date, said on Friday it has been given more help from Berlin with €20 billion euros in loan guarantees.

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