Madrid – Spain's government on Friday doubled the amount commercial banks, smaller regional lenders and cooperatives must pay into the deposit-guarantee fund, raising the minimum contribution to 2 euros for every 1,000 euros in savings they hold.
That fund, currently worth roughly 6 billion euros ($8.03 billion), will collect some 1.6 billion euros annually.
Economy Minister Elena Salgado said the idea is that the process of restructuring Spain's financial system will not result in any cost to the taxpayer.
The decree approved Friday also set the maximum annual contribution the fund can demand of banks at 3 euros for every 1,000 euros they hold, up from 2 euros.
In addition, all financial entities now will make the same proportional contribution to the fund; previously, "cajas," or regional savings banks, had contributed 1 euro per 1,000 in savings held, while commercial banks and cooperatives had paid 0.6 euros and 0.8 euros, respectively.
Commercial banks objected to the change, noting that no listed banks have accepted bailout money while several "cajas" have received state aid.
The accord is the continuation of a plan - announced in October - of merging the industry-financed deposit-guarantee funds into one entity. Under the new regulations, all deposits held by customers of commercial banks, cajas and cooperatives will be insured at up to 100,000 euros per account.
Additionally, in the case of a bank bailout, the deposit-guarantee fund will not have to depend exclusively on regular contributions from banks but will also be able to take on debt as long as two-thirds of its board approves.
According to Salgado, the changes will enable the fund to assume potential losses stemming from the process of recapitalizing a financial institution by the FROB state restructuring fund.
The FROB was set up in response to the global economic crisis to support the process of mergers and acquisitions in the caja sector and ensure the survival of those regional savings banks.
The cajas, which have strong ties to regional governments, were especially hard hit by the bursting of a massive real-estate bubble.