From Iceland — Banks Respond to Parliament, Conservatives Refuse to Participate

Banks Respond to Parliament, Conservatives Refuse to Participate

Published October 7, 2010

Members of the Social Affairs and Insurance Committee told reporters that they are confident the nation’s banks will respond to government demands. Meanwhile, conservatives refuse to engage with other parties over a solution to the debt of Icelandic households.
Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir harshly criticised the banks in her opening speech for the fall session of parliament on Monday, saying that they were “dragging their feet” in trying to work out more flexible loan payment programs for households in debt. Yesterday, the Social Affairs and Insurance Committee called bank leaders to a meeting, with chairperson Sigríður Ingibjörg Ingadóttir telling reporters that if the now-private banks do not meet government demands, they would be forced to take “more serious measures”.
At the conclusion of yesterday’s meeting, numerous members of the committee told reporters that they were optimistic about the eventual outcome. Sigríður told RÚV that the bank managers she spoke to expressed complete willingness to work out new programs for the nation’s families.
In related news, Fréttablaðið reports that conservative chairman Bjarni Benediktsson has refused to send members of his party to a meeting called today by the prime minister, saying that the conservatives will not participate in talks so long as “the government continues to steer the economy in the wrong direction”. All other parties have expressed a willingness to attend the meeting, called by the prime minister in order to find a multi-partisan solution for Icelandic households in debt.

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