New coalition planning new fee on bank assets
The new coalition of the Center Party, the Social Democrats, and IRL is planning to introduce a fee on banks amounting to 0.04-0.4 percent of a bank’s total assets. This would create additional revenue for the state of around €40m, daily Eesti Päevaleht wrote on Friday.
Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDE) Jevgeni Ossinovski told the paper that the fee was based on the model the majority of Estonian countries used, and that it would be "tiny." The thinking behind the fee was social more than anything else: the banks had been profitable, and they carried more responsibility.
According to statistics released by the Bank of Estonia, total assets of the country’s credit institutions amounted to 23.8 billion euros. The minimum of the new fee, set at 0.04 percent of a bank’s assets, would bring in some 9.5 million euros per year, while the maximum at 0.4 percent would bring in some 95 million euros.
The Estonian banks made a profit of 606 million euros in 2015.
Most of the bank CEOs didn’t want to comment the measure. Indrek Neivelt, one of the founders of Hansabank (now Swedbank) and CEO of Pocopay, said that the measure was a good decision, as the local banks neither invested nor developed.
In an exchange on Twitter, MP Kalle Palling (Reform) suggested that the new fee would make banks leave; Neivelt reacted by saying that in Estonia, banks made twice as much as elsewhere, and that nobody was going to leave.