A special committee convened to investigate the spectacular collapse of Iceland’s banking system delivered its report to the country’s parliament yesterday. The 2,000-page tome, in Icelandic, is here; an English summary is here. Alphaville has picked through the report in a series of posts (part one, part two).
At their peak, Iceland’s three largest banks amassed assets worth ten times their country’s GDP. They consistently reported stronger profits and capital ratios than their Nordic peers. However, the reported value of the banks’ loans proved inflated and the solidity of their equity capital illusory. “It seems likely that they would have come to grief eventually, even without a worldwide financial crisis,” concluded one chapter in the report.
Following government seizure, the banks’ assets were re-evaluated in November 2008. The write-downs alone were worth five times Iceland’s GDP.