S&P shows how Malta's banking system is different from that of Cyprus

Source: timesofmalta.com

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, like Fitch last week, has cautioned against comparisons between Malta’s banking system and that of Cyprus.

In a report entitled: “Small Countries, Big Banking Systems: How Malta And Luxembourg Differ From Cyprus”, S&P said that the combination of factors behind Cyprus' difficulties is not currently likely to be replicated elsewhere in Europe.

“The domestic banks based in Luxembourg and Malta are considerably smaller as a proportion of GDP than the large headline figures suggest. In our view, their domestic banks are not exposed to high and deteriorating credit risk to the extent of Cyprus' banks.”

S&P explained that the Cypriot banking crisis was born on the asset, not the liability, side of banks' balance sheets. The banks didn't fail because of the providence or the size of their customer deposits.

“In our view, similar to the Icelandic and Irish banks and the Spanish cajas before them, the Cypriot banks' difficulties are the result of their lending--not their borrowing--decisions. Assets in Cypriot banks consisted of, in part, impaired loans to the Greek public and private sectors, and were ultimately worth far less than the banks' liabilities. Equity capital was insufficient to make up the difference.

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