This article follows on from Why Ireland’s 2008 Blanket Bank Guarantee Decision Was Taken: Part 1.
It is five years since the Irish government announced on the 30th of September 2008 that Ireland was going to provide an unlimited bank guarantee to six covered financial institutions. It’s important to remind ourselves of the context of that event. On the 15th of September 2008 Lehman Brothers collapsed and the subsequent credit crunch ensured that the international banking system was soon struggling to obtain interbank credit. Soon significant problems at European banks came to a head. Towards the end of September France, the Netherlands and Belgium injected €11.2bn into Fortis, Belgium's biggest bank and then, a couple of days later on the fateful 29th of Sept, the Netherlands was forced to take over Fortis’ Netherland operation at a cost of €16.8bn. By the 6th of October the German government had authorised a €50 billion rescue package in its second, and this time ‘successful’ attempt to rescue Hypo Real Estate Holdings. The first attempt was a week previously, again on the 29th of September.
The problems for Irish banks trying to access liquidity in the interbank market were not unique, but Ireland’s solution to resolve it differed considerably to that of every other country in the EU. In the weeks prior to the full guarantee the Irish government had already taken the decision to guarantee deposits up to €100,000. Up to that point deposit guarantees in the majority of European countries was just €20,000 with only Italy providing a deposit guarantee of 100,000. As a result of the Irish extension 97% of all customer deposits in the Irish banking system were fully guaranteed (Carswell, IT Oct 2008, see image below). Yet this wasn’t enough to stem the banking crisis and the loss of liquidity. At this time Anglo Irish Bank that was losing significant deposits of between €50 million and €200 million each, amounting to losses of €1 billion a day, causing Anglo to breach its regulatory liquidity ratio. Most of these deposits were borrowed from the short term money markets.