Bailed-Out Banks 'Will Be In Debt For Years'

(c) Sky News 2011
 

British taxpayers face a "waiting game" to see when public money used to bail out struggling banks in 2008 will ever be returned.

Four banks were nationalised during the height of the credit crisis two-and-a-half years ago.

On Wednesday Northern Rock reported half-year losses and today Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY.L - news) announced pre-tax losses of £3.25bn.

Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS.L - news) (RBS) is predicted to report a £3bn loss on Friday.

Based on the current share price the Government has a £45.22bn stake in RBS.

It also holds £17.42bn worth of shares in Lloyds Banking Group. The Bradford and Bingley has been loaned £27bn of public money.

Northern Rock Asset Management currently owes the Government £20.7bn and in addition £1.4bn has been invested in Northern Rock PLC - the high street arm of the business.

According to these figures, each British taxpayer has an exposure to these banks of more than £3,500.

City analyst Chris Skinner is sure the Government's investment will be returned but warned it could take a number of years.

"The situation right now that the banks' share prices have been hammered. The Government has lost up to 40% of the investment it made. They invested some £76bn so they've lost somewhere around £30-40bn in Lloyds Banking Group and RBS alone.

"Originally I thought 2013 or 2014 would have been a good time for the banks to be sold back to private investors and make some money. Now maybe we're looking at 2015 or even later. It's really a waiting game."

The focus right now may be on the nationalised banks but the industry as a whole has been the beneficiary of some serious cash courtesy of the Bank of England.

Since March 2009, £200bn has been pumped into the economy through quantitative easing. It is figures like these that vex banking reform campaigners.

Simon Chouffot from the Robin Hood Tax Campaign says it is time for the banks to be more collectively responsible.

"That is one incredible IOU from the banks to society. I think eventually we'll see some of that money but not all of that money. But there is a wider responsibility here as well, for the banks to give something back to the rest of the economy they have damaged.

"People have lost their jobs, our services have been hit as a result of the banks' behaviour."