TIRANA Dec 6 Albania's central bank will ask
banks to create a safety fund to rescue them should bankruptcies
endanger the nation's financial stability, officials said on
Finance Minister Arben Ahmetaj and Central Bank Governor
Gent Sejko said the goal of the fund would be to spare the
taxpayers the burden of saving any of its 16 commercial banks,
all but one of which are foreign and mostly subsidiaries.
The Extraordinary Intervention Authority would be set up at
the central bank and is modelled on the Banking Recovery and
Resolution Directive of the European Union, a report
accompanying the draft said.
Albania wants to join the EU.
"One of the goals of the draft law is to avoid as much as
possible such actions (rescues) by the state," Ahmetaj told
parliament's economy commission.
Sejko said the fund will be created with money from the
banks but did not detail how much they will contribute. The law
empowered the authority to take over control of the bank when it
poses risks to the system.
It foresaw the sale of the banks' commercial activity,
creating a bridge bank and their internal capitalisation, among
other measures, the report said.
The opposition Democratic Party questioned the wisdom of
creating the fund while the banking system faced no added risks.
"Is this the right time to require extra costs when we
expect the banking system to take the risk (of lending more) to
help the economy come out of its sleepy state," asked Ridvan
Bode, a former finance minister.
Spiro Brumbulli, the secretary general of the Albanian
Association of Banks, told Reuters the association agreed with
the measure, which has to be applied six months after the draft
(Reporting By Benet Koleka, Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)