European Banks Take Greek Hit After Deal
Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Commerzbank AG (CBK) of Germany and France’s Credit Agricole SA booked losses on their Greek government debt two days after creditors agreed to the biggest sovereign restructuring in history.
RBS, Britain’s biggest government-owned lender, posted a wider-than-expected full-year loss after taking a sovereign-debt impairment of 1.1 billion pounds ($1.7 billion). Commerzbank, Germany’s second-biggest lender, booked a 700 million-euro ($1.1 billion) writedown on Greek debt in the fourth quarter. Credit Agricole, France’s third-largest bank, reported a quarterly loss after 220 million euros in impairments on Greek debt.
Dexia SA and Allianz SE (ALV) also announced Greek writedowns today. The nation’s private creditors agreed to a debt swap on Feb. 21, paving the way for a second bailout and averting what Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Officer Josef Ackermann said would have been a “meltdown” worse than the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.
“Earnings were hit by Greek writedowns, but at least the worst is now behind us,” said Lutz Roehmeyer, who helps oversee about 11.5 billion euros at Landesbank Berlin Investment in Germany’s capital. “By aggressively writing down their holdings, banks want to show that they can cope even if Greece defaults down the road.”