Thursday, January 22, 2009

Central Europe and Geithner

Impressed with what I saw of Tim Geithner's testimony to the Senate committee considering his nomination but horrified at the self absorption and superficiality of many of the legislators questioning him. One Senator wanted one word yes or no answers to complex matters of regulatory change - talk about grandstanding!

FT picks up on the excessive lending given by Austrian and Italian banks through their Central and Eastern European subsidiaries. Providing Swiss Franc mortgages to Hungarian Forint earners and assets was never going to be triple A rated. Rather than take the hit on their own balance sheets ( which the banks can't weather and which would drive them into government ownership ) the Austrian and Italian banks are now asking for crisis funds for the region from the ECB .

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