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ELPAÍS.com in English: Bank of Spain draws battle lines in ongoing war of interest rates
After already issuing one warning, which was ignored by the banking sector, Central Bank officials are demanding that savings and commercial banks- those that have received public money or plan to receive it- stop their "aggressive campaigns" to attract customers to open accounts.

The Central Bank, which is headed by Miguel Ángel Fernández Ordóñez, wants to prevent a banking war that could accelerate a collapse of the institutions that offer high interest rates. Although such campaigns can help banks solve their short-term liquidity problems, it forces them into an impossible situation where they would have to pay off the high interest rates they are offering to customers after one year. Currently, some banks are offering up to five percent on some accounts when Treasury notes are listed at 3.5 percent and interest in the interbank market doesn't go beyond 1.5 percent.

Through this warning, the Bank of Spain has effectively put a halt to free market competition by clipping the wings of those institutions that have received public money. The nation's larger banks and some savings banks (popularly known as cajas in Spanish) have lodged complaints against the regulatory body because they feel that the government has "reined in" their rights to conduct business as entitled under European Commission rules.

This "deposit-taking war" has been going on for 8 months...

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 3rd, 2011 at 06:02:49 AM EST
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