08 July 2015

A Positive Review Of Czech Insolvency Laws

Physics blogger Lubos Motl recounts his positive experience with the Czech Republic's bankruptcy system for insolvent non-bank financial institutions and the Czech equivalent of the FDIC, after a credit union he invested in went under, probably due to fraud.

His credit union had 12 billion of debts and 4 billion of assets (33.8%), after regulators came in, although the Deposit Insurance Fund (FPV) promptly paid all depositors their losses of deposits and interest up to 100,000 Euros worth (including him to the tune of about 26,000 Euros).

He made an additional claim for about $180 U.S. for penalty interest under a relevant Czech law, and other claims were made by 263 other claimants (with a combined 1% of outstanding claims) in addition to an indemnification claim from the FPV for about 99% of outstanding claims, each of which was paid its pro-rata share with minimal fuss from the amounts collected by two people who were the equivalent of receivers or bankruptcy trustees.  So, his total loss on the deal was about $120 of penalty interest leaving him, overall, with a 99.5%+ recovery due to deposit insurance.

This is quite similar to how financial institution bankruptcies work in the U.S., except that it is very rare indeed for a failed financial institution to produce a 64.2% loss to the FDIC, which tends to support his 20/20 hindsight conclusion that there was probably serious fraud involved in the institution's collapse.

FWIW, I don't agree with his analogy of this situation to the Greek government's current financial crisis, which would imply quite extreme measures, even though some sort of institutional way for handling insolvencies of countries, dependencies and U.S. states (Puerto Rico is also in deep financial trouble, for example), similar to Chapter 9 of the United States bankruptcy code (for municipal bankruptcies), might be a good idea.

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