Skip to content

Ireland is bankrupt. Now let’s get over it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

This piece has been cross-posted from Irish Left Review

bt Terrence McDonough @Progressive economics

What should replace the current banks? We urgently need to create a publicly owned and operated “good bank” similar to that proposed by the Financial Times columnist and academic Willem Buiter. This institution (or institutions if some competition is deemed advisable) would assume the deposits of the existing banks. These are already guaranteed by the government in any case. The government would then purchase the good assets of the existing banks for the new good bank. Buying good assets has the advantage of paying a price set in the markets. Assets whose ultimate worth is uncertain and hence hard to price would be left with what are now legacy bad banks. The legacy bad banks would still be owned by their shareholders and would owe obligations to their bondholders. These groups would then assume the risk they contracted for in the first place. The legacy bad banks would be prohibited from accepting new deposits but would have the cash from the sale of their good assets as operating capital. One really attractive aspect of this proposal is that the existing management could be left to manage the remaining assets. If these guys (and gals) are as clever as their bonuses indicate perhaps they can dig the legacy banks out. But if not, there’s always the bankruptcy court with the owners, lenders and managers squarely in the gun sights where they belong. With the bankruptcy of the legacy bad banks, the financial system will be in the hands of the government’s good banks. The public will have dodged the bullet.  Link to full article

Posted in News.

Tagged with , , , , .