Friday, August 30, 2013

30/8/2013: Hypo-Depfa Saga

One of the best articles on Hypo-Depfa fiasco I've seen to-date anywhere! via @DerekinBerlin and @IrishTimes

Key quotes (for me, personally):
"Sitting in his Frankfurt office, in the shadow of Deutsche Bank’s twin towers, the 75 year-old Bavarian says the mainstream view in German finance circles – that Depfa sank HRE – is not strictly correct. “HRE would have gone down on its own, because of its own business,” he says, a view he formed during a hectic year studying HRE’s books."

It was clear from the beginning of the Hypo collapse that aside from Depfa, German lender was all over the shop in terms of loans it was issuing, its own funding was no different from the market consensus model, which relied on a toxic mix of medium term and short term funding sources exacerbating maturity mismatch risk with liquidity risk.

"Six months before the end, in early 2008, German financial regulator BaFin asked experts at the Bundesbank to conduct a full audit of all HRE operations. Its final audit report warns about “serious deficits” right across the group’s structures – from Dublin to Munich – particularly in the division supposed to assess risk of investments worth around €400 billion. ...employees were often unable to answer questions about the bank’s activities. ...HRE executives had no idea what was going on at their bank – either in Germany, or in their Dublin subsidiary, Depfa – because they had “no adequate, timely presentation of the actual financial situation”."

You have to just love the incompetence of the German financial authorities. Having received a report listing 49 breaches of regulations by Hypo-Depfa, in July 2008 (amidst already raging liquidity crisis worldwide), German BaFin "demanded quarterly progress reports on remedial action. Six weeks later, HRE and Depfa went over the edge."

A sense of BaFin being run by Dublin's FinReg or their equivalent is ever present.

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