June 29, 2011 / 11:52 AM / 6 years ago

Banks see rating agencies OK for Greek debt plan - sources

* Banks receive positive signals - sources

* S&P says too soon to judge impact of debt package

FRANKFURT, June 29 (Reuters) - Banks have received positive signals from ratings agencies that they will not call a French rollover plan for Greek debt a default, three people close to German lenders said on Wednesday.

“The whole charm of the French model is that is was worked out in a such way that it will be fine with the ratings agencies,” one of the people said.

Another source said the fact the French model was developed by banks themselves implied the rollover will be fully voluntary -- a precondition for ratings agencies not to declare a default.

However, a senior official at Standard & Poor’s said on Moday it was too soon to judge the ratings impact of the discussed debt relief package.

“I can tell you only that we cannot give a judgment on something we have not even seen,” Moritz Kraemer, S&P’s head of European sovereign ratings, had said.

German banks agreed in principle on Tuesday to use a French proposal for banks to roll over some Greek debt for 30 years, as the basis for negotiating private-sector participation in a Greek debt rollover, sources told Reuters.

Final detail of an agreement, such as the volume of any rollover and the coupon payments of new bonds, need to be finalised, the sources also said.

French banks, the most exposed to the Greek crisis, had presented an outline agreement to roll over holdings of maturing Greek government bonds as part of a wider European plan to avoid sovereign default.

The French proposal for restructuring Greek debt involves two options for bondholders during a period from July 2011 to end-June 2014, according to a draft seen by Reuters.

Banks would also reinvest 70 percent of the proceeds when Greek bonds fall due and cash out the rest. Of the amount reinvested, 50 percent would go into the new 30-year bonds and 20 percent would go into AAA-rated zero coupon bonds.

A senior European Central Bank policymaker rejected the idea of a Greek debt solution involving EU guarantees.

Asked about a scenario under which banks exchanged their Greek bonds for new paper backed by guarantees from EU states -- an approach similar to that used in Latin America in the 1980s -- Juergen Stark told German newspaper Die Zeit: “This instrument is disqualified ... It would break the ban on support -- the no bail-out clause in article 125 of the EU Treaty.” (Reporting by Arno Schuetze, Kathrin Jones, Philipp Halstrick; Editing by Dan Lalor)

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