From Iceland — Icelanders Distrust Finance Minister Over Íslandsbanki Sale

Icelanders Distrust Finance Minister Over Íslandsbanki Sale

Published January 19, 2021

John Pearson
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Icelanders have little faith in their country’s Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs to conduct the sale of government-owned bank Íslandsbanki, a survey has revealed. Polling company Market and Media Research questioned 915 Icelanders last week, and the results were reported by Fréttablaðið yesterday.

63% of Icelanders surveyed indicated that they didn’t trust Bjarni Benediktsson to lead the privatisation of the bank, which was taken into national ownership during the aftermath of the country’s financial crisis in 2008. The degree of distrust was even higher amongst those on lower incomes, with 76% of respondents who earn below 400,000 ISK each month expressing concern.

The sale of Íslandsbanki was placed on hold around the start of the global coronavirus in March 2020, but was revived last December and approved in a matter of days by Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament. The move has been met with scepticism from opposition politicians, although Bjarni has reportedly dismissed these concerns as partisan politics.

Íslandsbanki was one of three banks established under governmental control following Iceland’s financial collapse in 2008. Since then, only one of the three – Arion – has returned to private ownership.

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