By DANIEL WOOLLS, Associated Press
MADRID (AP) — On Friday, finance ministers from the 17 countries that use the euro approved the terms of the bailout of Spain's troubled banking sector.
Here is a glance at the aid package's main points:
—The EU will provide up to €100 billion ($122.87 billion) for Spanish banks struggling under a mountain of non-performing loans, foreclosed property and other unwanted assets resulting from the collapse of the country's real estate market. The precise figure will depend on how much each bank needs, and this will be determined after detailed portfolio assessments and stress tests due to be completed in September. Leading Spanish banks, such as Banco Santander SA, are not expected to need any help.
—Money from the bailout will be used to help the banks recapitalize and shore up their balance sheets against the prospect of further shocks in the Spanish economy. Spain is currently in its second recession in three years and saddled with a nearly 25 percent unemployment rate.
—The money will be available until the end of next year, and most recapitalization operations are expected to be completed in June of 2013.
—Funds will initially come from the EU's existing bailout mechanism, known as the EFSF — the same one used in the bailouts of Greece, Ireland and Portugal. The goal is for the money eventually to flow from a planned permanent mechanism, the ESM, directly to the needy banks, rather than to the Spanish government as will be the case at the outset. Under both arrangements, when it comes to repaying, the EU's loans will not take precedence over debt owed to other creditors — a crucial point for private investors worried that they might not be paid back.
—Toxic assets will be segregated from Spanish banks into an Asset Management Agency, essentially a 'bad bank.' Spain's toxic assets are expected to total about €200 billion euros.
—The EU has not said what interest rate it will charge. Spain says the rate will be variable and depend on conditions in the money market. Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos has said it would be under 4 percent.
—The average term of the loans will be 12.5 years, and the maximum 15.
—A first tranche of €30 billion euros will be made available by July 31. But it will be held in reserve by the bailout fund and disbursed only in the event of emergency. The size of the other tranches will be determined depending on the needs of the Spanish banks.
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