BERLIN/BRUSSELS, July 18 Small euro zone banks
will need to pay a minimal annual levy into a bank back-up fund,
according to European Commission plans cited by a German
newspaper on Friday,
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said in a pre-publication
report from its Saturday edition that banks with total assets of
less than 100 million euros were set to pay 5,000 euros a year
towards the 55 billion-euro resolution fund. The payments are
considered a concession to Germany, which wants to protect its
EU leaders have decided to complete a banking union with an
agency to shut failing euro zone banks and with the 55 billion
euro back-up fund, set up over eight years. The German
government has said that the costs for its banks will be high.
"This is the position of the Commission, but discussions are
ongoing," one euro zone source told Reuters.
A Commission spokeswoman called the report "speculation" and
said banks' contributions would be a "combination of size and of
other factors such as risk taken."
Very small German banks, such as Sparkassen and Volksbanken,
have argued they will not have to make use of the planned fund,
since their risk profile is so low.
To protect those banks, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble
has lobbied in Brussels for a threshold below which banks would
not have to contribute or would only make small contributions.
He wants big banks to shoulder more of the burden.
That has put Germany at odds with other countries, such as
France, which want to get the best deal for their big banks.
Reports have mentioned a threshold of 500 million euros of
assets below which banks would not have to contribute to the
fund. That limit is up from 300 million for Germany's current
According to the newspaper, banks with total assets of less
than 200 million euros would pay 10,000 euros a year and those
between 200 and 300 million would pay 15,000 euros.
The German Finance Ministry declined comment.
(Reporting by Annika Breidthardt in Berlin, Tom Koerkemeier and
Martin Santa in Brussels; Editing by Larry King)