Landsbanki has made its first payment to depositors in the now-defunct Icesave online bank, although it may be several years before the full amount is paid back.
Icesave was an online branch of Landsbanki that promised an appealing high rate of return on deposits. As such, it attracted numerous European depositors, from pensioners to entire municipalities. With Iceland’s financial collapse in autumn 2008, these same depositors found themselves unable to retrieve the money they put in their accounts, prompting a legal battle which has lasted over three years.
Last October, the Supreme Court ruled that ultimately, Landsbanki is responsible for repaying the depositors. Yesterday, the first payment on the full amount was paid to British and Dutch depositors.
RÚV reports that Landsbanki paid 266 billion ISK to the British depositor’s insurance fund, and 88 billion ISK to the Dutch. Another 75 billion ISK was put in a so-called “storage account” for accounts that have yet to be taken care of, and another 3 billion ISK was paid to smaller deposit claims. In all, Landsbanki paid 432 billion ISK.
Halldór Bachman, who sits on Landsbanki’s resolution committee, told reporters that it could still take several years before the full amount owed is finally paid out, while emphasising that Landsbanki wants to resolve the issue as soon as possible.