Monday, December 22, 2014

Moscow's Trust Bank as Northern Rock: Russia Appropriates Up to One Trillion Roubles For Bank Bailouts

I feel compelled to tell you who I thought of as I typed that "One Trillion Roubles" headline:

From The Guardian:
Trust bank becomes first financial casualty of Russia’s currency crisis
Russian central bank throws Moscow institution a $530m lifeline in what is expected to be the first in a series of bailouts  
Moscow’s Trust bank has become the first financial casualty of Russia’s currency crisis after the country’s central bank threw it a $530m (£340m) lifeline to prevent it going bankrupt.

Trust, which uses the Hollywood star Bruce Willis to advertise its credit cards, ran into trouble after its policy of offering attractive savings rates and consumer loans fell foul of Russia’s economic slowdown.
The country’s central bank said it was providing up to 30bn roubles to help the medium-sized bank in what is thought likely to be the first of a series of bailouts made necessary by the near-halving of the global price of oil and the sharp fall in the value of the rouble.

Last Friday, Russian MPs rushed through a bill authorising a 1tn-rouble recapitalisation of the country’s banks, which have suffered big losses as a result the currency crisis.

The central bank’s Deposit Insurance Agency will be responsible for supervising Trust under a temporary arrangement until a new investor, likely to be one of Russia’s leading banks, is chosen as a white knight.
Trust’s problems echo those of Northern Rock, the first bank to get into trouble in the UK when the global financial crisis broke in the summer of 2007. Like Northern Rock, the Russian bank had been offering loans on easy terms and annual rates of interest in excess of 20% on rouble accounts....MORE
HT: Mike Norman Economics

We first heard of the problem at the canary in the mortgage coalmine known Northern Rock on September 13, 2007 when some unnamed wretch (okay, it was Paul Murphy) at FT Alphaville posted "All Chauffeur Alert! Bank of England Court convenes" at 23:22 British Summer Time. The affair culminated in this "UK confirms £30bn bond support for Rock | FT Alphaville" on Jan 22, 2008.

Along the way I lost my mind and started channeling New York Post style headlines:
Rock, Paper, Scissored 
Panic on the streets of Britain: Northern rocked, City shocked 
I don't think I ever recovered.