Private Bank Account Raids Spread to Italy, Spain

Katie Pavlich

3/26/2013 11:23:00 AM - Katie Pavlich

Despite the small country of Cyprus receiving a bailout from Russia to prevent an economic collapse and bankruptcy, many with deposits in the banking system will see as much as 40 percent in losses. Before the bailout, the Cyprus government suggested confiscating private bank savings to solve the short term problem. Some have argued the confiscation of personal funds can only happen in tiny countries like Cyprus and of course couldn't happen anywhere else however, it looks like Italy and Spain are getting ready to raid private bank accounts in an attempt to offset decades of poor economic decisions.

Savings accounts in Spain, Italy and other European countries will be raided if needed to preserve Europe's single currency by propping up failing banks, a senior eurozone official has announced.

 The new policy will alarm hundreds of thousands of British expatriates who live and have transferred their savings, proceeds from house sales and other assets to eurozone bank accounts in countries such as France, Spain and Italy.

The euro fell on global markets after Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch chairman of the eurozone, announced that the heavy losses inflicted on depositors in Cyprus would be the template for future banking crises across Europe.

"If there is a risk in a bank, our first question should be 'Okay, what are you in the bank going to do about that? What can you do to recapitalise yourself?'," he said.

"If the bank can't do it, then we'll talk to the shareholders and the bondholders, we'll ask them to contribute in recapitalising the bank, and if necessary the uninsured deposit holders."

Meanwhile, banks in Cyprus have been closed for nearly two weeks now in order to prevent further runs on funds. In return, businesses are struggling.

Cypriot businesses were under increasing strain to keep running on Tuesday after financial authorities stretched the country's bank closure into a second week amid fears that depositors will rush to drain their accounts.

All but two of the country's largest lenders had been due to reopen Tuesday, after being shut since March 16 while politicians figured out how to raise the funds necessary for Cyprus to qualify for an international bailout.

After initially saying most financial institutions would reopen Tuesday, the country's central bank made a surprise reversal just before midnight, announcing all banks would remain closed until Thursday.