You read it here first. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard now reports in the Telegraph (via Across the Curve) that the Federal Reserve thinks the Swedes (and Norwegians and Finns) might have something to teach us about financial bailouts:
A senior official at one of the Scandinavian central banks told The Daily Telegraph that Fed strategists had stepped up contacts to learn how Norway, Sweden and Finland managed their traumatic crisis from 1991 to 1993, which brought the region’s economy to its knees.
It is understood that Fed vice-chairman Don Kohn remains very concerned by the depth of the US crisis and is eyeing the Nordic approach for contingency options.
And a little further down in the story:
While the responses varied in each Nordic country, there a was major effort to avoid the sort of “moral hazard” that has bedevilled efforts by the Fed and the Bank of England in trying to stabilise their banking systems.
Norway ensured that shareholders of insolvent lenders received nothing and the senior management was entirely purged. Two of the country’s top four banks – Christiania Bank and Fokus – were seized by force majeure.
“We were determined not to get caught in the game we’ve seen with Bear Stearns where shareholders make money out of the rescue,” said one Norwegian adviser.