Every Icelander May Receive 30,000 ISK From Bank Sale - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Every Icelander May Receive 30,000 ISK From Bank Sale

Published October 24, 2015

Photos by
Baldur Kristjáns

Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson has promised that each Icelander will get a 30,000 ISK pay-out for the proposed Íslandsbanki bank sale.

Speaking to attendees of the national convention of the Independence Party, of which Bjarni is the chairperson, Kjarninn reports that he submitted the idea that 5% of Íslandsbanki’s shares be distributed to each and every Icelander. As the value of the bank is currently placed at 187 billion ISK, 5% would come out to about 9.3 billion ISK, or just under 30,000 ISK for each Icelander.

“I am saying that the government take some decided portion, 5%, and simply hand it over to the people of this country,” he told attendees.

As reported, Íslandsbanki’s creditors have proposed that ISB Holding ehf., which owns 95% of shares in Íslandsbanki hf., transfer their entire holding in Íslandsbanki to the State, which would then become full owner of the bank.

This would put two of Iceland’s banks under the ownership of the government, RÚV reports, and Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, the vice chairperson of the Budget Committee, told reporters he was not especially happy about the government owning the bank, but that he believes it may be a necessary step towards lifting capital controls.

Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson is more positive about the idea, saying that it will likely bring more foreign capital into the country. Former Minister of Finance and current Left-Green MP Steingrímur J. Sigfússon was not quite as optimistic, telling listeners of radio station Rás 2 this morning that “we shouldn’t lose the banks to the hands of fools,” saying that Iceland should rather focus on “separating commercial banking from investment banking.”

Nothing exact has yet been set on when this 5% share in the bank – which, being owned by the State, effectively means it will be 100% owned by the people – will be distributed or how.

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