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Iceland made world news by jailing their crooked bankers that had an involvement in the 2008 financial crisis, and now they will pay every Icelander for the sale of Íslandsbanki, one of its largest banks.
If Bjarni Benediktsson, Finance Minister has his way, Icelanders will receive kr 30,000 after their government has ownership of the bank. Íslandsbanki will be the second largest bank, of three, under State proprietorship.
Benediktsson stated, “I am saying that the government take [sic] some decided portion, 5%, and simply hand it over to the people of this country.”
Since the government is under the control of Icelanders, they own the banks. Bjarni believes that their economy will be fueled by foreign capital that will be brought into the country, which still remains the only European nation that has fully recovered from the 2008 crisis. Iceland was even able to pay its outstanding debt to the IMF before its due date.
Budget Committee vice chairperson, Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, explained that this move will ease the lifting of capital controls, even though he’s not entirely sure that State ownership is the ideal solution. Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, former Finance Minister, agrees with Þórðarson stating in a radio show, “we shouldn’t lose the banks to the hands of fools” and that a shift in focus to separate “commercial banking from investment banking” would benefit Iceland.
The takeover of the bank and the subsequent payments to the Icelanders plans have not been set, but the way Iceland is handling the financial crisis of 2008 is worthy of all the attention they are getting.
Iceland has recently jailed the 26th banker that had a connection to the meltdown. But the U.S. is rewarding their banking criminals for the market manipulation and fraud with bailouts that cost the taxpayer’s. Maybe the U.S. should take a page out of the Icelanders book and do the same.