* Punishable by up to 4 years in jail, 19,000 euros fine
* Measures a response to collapse of DSB in 2009
AMSTERDAM, Dec 23 The Netherlands plans to make
it a criminal offence to call for a run on a troubled bank, the
finance and justice ministers said on Thursday, a clear response
to the collapse of Dutch mortgage lender DSB in 2009.
Anyone found guilty of calling for a run on a bank would
face a maximum sentence of four years in prison or a fine of
19,000 euros, the justice ministry said, adding that the
proposed law could come into effect next year.
DSB failed just a few days after a lawyer for a DSB mortgage
holders' foundation suggested in a television interview that DSB
clients should take their money out of the bank.
About one sixth of the deposits were withdrawn, resulting in
a liquidity crunch and forcing the Dutch central bank to step in
and take over the bank. A week later, an Amsterdam court
declared DSB bankrupt. [ID:nLC637889]
The finance and justice ministers said in a joint statement
on Thursday that it was important to maintain confidence in the
banking system, adding that bank deposits were already protected
by a guarantee scheme.
"Those people who deliberately make public statements about
the soundness of a bank and call for a run on the bank, expose
the bank to the real danger of bankruptcy. To prevent this in
future, we need to make greater use of the justice system," the
"There is no justification for calling for a bank run given
the existence of the deposit guarantee scheme."
The collapse of DSB, which advertised heavily on television
for mortgage business, led to criticism of the central bank and
of Gerrit Zalm, DSB's chief financial officer at the time who
was later tapped by the government to head ABN Amro after its
"We have mixed feelings about the proposal of a fine on
announcements for bank runs with regard to whistleblowers or
individuals who call for bank runs," said Lemer Salah, an
analyst at SNS Securities, in a research note.
"However, from the perspective of the bank this proposal is
expected to be beneficial".
Dutch banks, including ING ING.AS, state-owned ABN AMRO,
and SNS Reaal SR.AS, are estimated to have to pay a total of
between 500 million and 1 billion euros for the national scheme
to compensate deposits of failed banks. [ID:nLDE60E058]
Earlier this month, former Manchester United football player
Eric Cantona called for a nationwide bank run in France to
punish banks for their role in the financial crisis, but his
call was largely ignored. [ID:nLDE6B01FR]
(Reporting by Sara Webb and Gilbert Kreijger; Editing by Jon