Via Pater Tenebrarum of Acting-Man blog,
A Record Amount of Bad Loans
A recent study by Ernst & Young has revealed that euro-land banks in the aggregate now hold € 918 billion ($1.23 trn.) in non-performing loans (7.6% of all loans outstanding). E&Y sees about 15.5% of all loans in Spain and 10.2% of all loans in Italy as likely to be in NPL status (this exceeds the most recent official numbers somewhat).
In light of such staggering numbers, the idea to use the ESM for direct bank recapitalization seems somewhat ambitious. This is especially so as the idea to employ the ESM to take over the costs of already bailed out banks is being pushed by a number of euro area members. No doubt Ireland and Spain would be happy to see that (in fact, Spain is already the 'exception' as the ESM is potentially on the hook for € 100 billion for its banks – but this is structured as a loan to Spain's government, not a direct bank bailout).
The problem is that if the ESM wants to retain its AAA rating, it will have to back any financing it obtains from the markets with far higher guarantees if it rescues banks rather than governments. Given that what has been pumped into ailing euro-zone banks to date already amounts to €300 billion, its official capacity could be quickly exceeded if these existing bailout commitments were taken over by it.
Taxpayer-funded bank rescues in the euro area so far – the total already amounts to €300 billion, and that is not counting what might be used to bail out Cypriot banks and what may still be required in Italy and Spain (chart via Die Welt).