UK Treasury Details Asset-Protection Plan
Her Majesty's (HM) Treasury on Monday released updated details on its Asset Protection Scheme (APS), designed to facilitate the healthy functioning of UK banks, promote lending and protect taxpayers. The UK Treasury's detailed announcement mirrors a migration in the US and leading industrial nations toward more transparency in government initiatives and fewer taxpayer-funded bailouts. "We have strived throughout our interventions to ensure maximum value for the taxpayer, charging commercial rates for our support for the banks and making supported firms pick up the tab for extra operating costs," said financial services secretary to the Treasury Paul Myners, in a statement. Monday's updates include the government's agreement (available to download here) with Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which in November signed an agreement to participate in the program. According to Myners, the agreement, revised from an initial deal announced in February, puts taxpayers in an improved position and places more financial responsibility on RBS. The bank not only will pay full operational costs of the Asset Protection Agency (APA), launched to administer the APS, but also take on £18bn (US$29.3bn) more in the first loss position than originally planned -- now shouldering £60bn of first loss. The government will provide a £25.5bn capital injection in installments, and RBS will pay an annual fee of £700m for the first three years under the program, followed by £500m each year for the life of APS. The APA will verify losses and recoveries on assets covered under the agreement -- including residential mortgages, retail loans and corporate lending -- and advise HM Treasury on payments to be made under the APS. As part of Monday's announcement, HM Treasury said Lloyds Banking Group will not participate in APS, but will raise £21bn in capital and pay a fee to the government for implicit protection provided so far. Write to Diana Golobay.