Gov’t to reimburse nearly all savings bank victims

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Gov’t to reimburse nearly all savings bank victims

The ruling and opposition parties yesterday agreed to push forward a compensation plan to rescue nearly all depositors and investors of failed savings banks despite worries in government that the plan is too charitable.

Four Grand National Party and Democratic Party lawmakers tasked with compensation for the savings bank crisis agreed yesterday to begin next month the process of reimbursing depositors and investors of the 12 bankrupt savings banks.

They also agreed to establish a special law to guarantee victims up to 200 million won ($184,417) each in reimbursement by using funds from the Korea Deposit Insurance Corporation.

The lawmakers estimated that about 280 billion won would be needed in total for the compensation program for the 12 banks, including the nine whose operations were suspended this year.

Under current law, depositors are insured up to 50 million won, and concerns have grown that larger depositors and subordinate bond holders were likely to lose money. Subordinate debt holders were to be compensated after all other creditors of a failed bank received their money.

Most of the victims have less than 200 million won in deposits, and the lawmakers discussed ways to minimize their losses by bending the law in the sensitive months ahead of next year’s elections.

The lawmakers said they wanted their plan to be submitted, deliberated and passed by the National Assembly in its August session so that the plan can be put into motion next month.

While corporate investors were to be excluded from the measure, individual depositors and private investors are likely to receive compensation up to 200 million won each.

To speed up the reimbursement process, the lawmakers agreed to use funds from the Korea Deposit Insurance Corporation.

They had initially considered a plan to use tax refunds from the National Tax Service since the savings banks had overpaid corporate taxes by exaggerating their earnings reports. They had also planned to use the tax refunds for depositors’ interest income to fund the program.

But the lawmakers decided to use the deposit insurance fund after the tax service said it would take time to make refunds available.

The deposit insurance fund will be repaid after selling assets of the savings banks and confiscating the hidden wealth of the banks’ executives, according to the plan.

“About 90 percent of the victims are depositors with up to 200 million won in deposits,” said Representative Ooh Che-chang of the Democratic Party, who heads the special committee on the savings bank crisis probe. “They are just ordinary people.”

According to sources, victims with deposits between 200 million won and 300 million won will receive a 90 percent reimbursement while those with deposits larger than 300 million won will receive an 80 percent
reimbursement.

But concerns grew about the lenient reimbursements, with critics calling the plan a “pork barrel” and “populist” measure. The government said that it would not spend the state’s coffers on the expanded compensation measure, and Ooh said yesterday that the legislature had no choice but to use the deposit insurance fund by drafting a special law.

Kim Seok-dong, chairman of the Financial Services Commission, said the plan “will bring about moral hazards of depositors and financial institutions.”

Last week, Kim reiterated his opposition to the reimbursement plan, calling it “unprecedented.”

The Korea Finance Consumer Federation yesterday also criticized the legislature’s plan as being “unfair” to other financial victims.

While the lawmakers’ plan is designed to compensate those who used the 12 savings banks after September 2009 in the aftermath of the global financial meltdown, critics said operations of dozens of savings banks were suspended from 2001-8.

Meanwhile, another lawsuit was filed by a group of subordinate bond holders of Busan Savings Bank Group yesterday, following a similar lawsuit in June. A group of 262 victims filed suit with the Seoul Central District Court, demanding 13.7 billion won in compensation from the suspended bank group, its executives and major shareholders as well as Korea Investors Service, the Financial Supervisory Service and the government.

Petitioners argued that the bank group’s selling of the subordinate bonds was an act of fraud, and its accounting firm, the credit rating agency and the government were party to the fraud based on their poor oversight.

A similar suit was filed in June by 188 victims, who demanded 10.1 billion won in compensation.


By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

저축은행 특별법 대통령 거부권 시사

박재완, 국조특위서 밝혀

저축은행 국회 국정조사특위가 9일 피해대책소위를 열고 예금자보호한도인 5000만원을 초과한 예금액에 대해서도 피해를 보상해 주는 방안을 추진하기로 했다.

 이 방안에 따르면 한도를 1000만원 이하로 넘긴 예금주(총예금 6000만원 이하)는 원금을 100%로 보상받고, 이보다 저축액이 많은 예금주는 차등 보상을 받게 된다. 보상액은 한도인 5000만원을 기준으로 ▶1000만원 초과 5000만원 이하인 경우엔 초과액의 95% ▶5000만원 초과 1억원 이하는 90%를 보상해 주는 식으로 예금액이 늘어날수록 보상비율은 떨어진다. 여야는 또 예금자보호법상 보호 대상이 아닌 저축은행 후순위채권 투자 피해자에 대해서도 투자액이 1000만원 이하면 100%를 보상해 주고, 이를 초과하면 역시 차등 보상해 주는 방안도 추진하기로 합의했다.

 소위는 이 같은 내용의 피해자 구제 방안을 현실화하기 위해 특별법을 제정하기로 했다. 특위는 이들 피해자를 구제하는 데 드는 재원을 예금보험기금에서 우선적으로 사용한다는 방침이다. 예금보험공단이 부실 저축은행들로부터 환수한 재산을 파산법에 따른 민사소송 절차 없이 피해자 구제에 쓰고, 부족한 금액은 정부가 출연토록 하겠다는 것이다.

 하지만 이날 국회에 출석한 박재완 기획재정부 장관은 특위의 특별법 추진에 대해 “금융질서를 교란하고 재정규율도 훼손하는 것”이라고 비판했다. 박 장관은 “여야가 합의한 대로 (특별)법을 만들면 어떻게 하겠느냐”는 민주당 김성곤 의원의 질문에 “대통령이 판단하겠지만, 정부는 그런 법안이 채택되지 않도록 최선을 다할 것”이라고 답해 법률안 거부권 행사 가능성까지 시사했다. 박 장관은 최근의 국제금융시장 혼란을 거론하면서 “이렇게 (원칙 없이) 휘둘리면 국제 신인도가 하락할 수 있다”고 강조했다.

 특별법이 국회에서 제정될 수 있을지도 불투명하다. 저축은행 특위엔 입법 권한이 없기 때문이다. 정무 소속의 한 의원은 “특위안은 다른 예금 피해자들과의 형평성뿐만 아니라 위헌소지까지 있기 때문에 법제화가 쉽지 않을 것”이라고 전망했다.

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