BANKING CRISIS

Spain will need between 51 and 62 billion euros to bail out its banks

Independent auditors release long-awaited reports on state of country's financial system

“These figures are far less than the 100-billion-euro amount,” says Bank of Spain deputy governor

Economy Minister will formally ask Brussels for rescue loan in the coming days

Spain needs a bailout of between 51 and 62 billion euros to recapitalize its banking sector, according to the conclusions of two long-awaited studies prepared by independent auditors Oliver Wyman and Roland Berger, which were released on Thursday.

The two audits differed in the exact amounts that Spain will need for its bank rescue: the Wyman study put the figure anywhere between 51 and 62 billion euros, while Berger cited a more conservative 51.8 billion.

“These figures are far less than the initial 100-billion-euro amount,” said the Bank of Spain’s deputy governor, Fernando Restoy, who released the conclusions of the audits at a press conference on Thursday afternoon. The 100-billion euro figure was agreed on by Spain and Eurogroup finance ministers during a conference call on June 9.

Restoy explained that the audits covered 90 percent of Spain’s financial sector, “putting all finances under the microscope” with an outlook for the next three years, which is one of the stipulations that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) requires in its stress tests.

Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said that he will formally ask Brussels for the rescue loan in the coming days.

During the G20 summit in Mexico earlier this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Spain to make its formal request for funds to shore up its banking industry as soon as possible. Spain’s banks have been left crippled by the bursting of the property bubble.

Spain may not need to seek the entire amount from Brussels. Some banks will be able to raise funds to cover holes in their balance sheets via other sources, Restoy said. However, the banks that have been – or are on the road to being – taken over by the Bank of Spain will have to seek European aid. These include Bankia, CatalunyaCaixa, Novacaixagalicia and Banco de Valencia.

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