SNS Reaal €2b loss
The gigantic net loss of €2b of SNS Reaal over 2013 doesn't phase Finance Minister Dijsselbloem one bit. He blames the loss partly to write-offs in the real-estate branch of the bank, which was sold. Dijsselbloem nationalized the bank in February 2013 for €3.7b, but does not consider this a setback.
The write-off is one-time only. The condition of the bank itself has improved, safe for the insurance part which is suffering from the pressure on the insurance branch. Banks in general see their results improving, according to the Finance minister, although they still suffer losses and need to take precautions for anticipated losses. The minister is confident Europe will not suffer another banking crisis, such as in 2008 and 2009, with all the measures the EU takes to prevent governments having to bail out banks again. Banks are now required to keep higher reserves, and carry their own losses. They are strictly monitored by the EU. An emergency fund, provisioned by the branch, should provide relief for banks that still run into financial hardship, after shareholders and bondholders have failed to provide the needed relief. Dijsselbloem thinks the reforms within the SNS are 'on track' and he wants to explore his sales options before this Summer.