The Washington Post

Build your own Cyprus bailout!

As I explained Monday morning, a substantial portion of the European Commission/European Central Bank/International Monetary Fund bailout is going to be financed by a "haircut" taken from bank deposits in Cyprus. The current policy has €5.8 billion raised from a 6.75 percent levy on bank deposits under €100,000 and a 9.9 percent levy on deposits over that amount. The former levy targets deposits that are insured by the Cypriot government; suffice it to say, you're not supposed to be able to do stuff like this with insured deposits.

That has led to discussions among policymakers that may end up exempting the insured deposits; the ECB says it's up to Cyprus to decide the exact make-up. Exempting insured accounts would likely require large, uninsured deposits to take an even bigger hit. How big? Reuters has helpfully created an interactive feature that allows you to figure that out:

A 15.26 percent cut from foreign deposits isn't that much worse than what was already on the table, and preserving the Cypriot government's guarantee of domestic deposits would probably be good for consumers and business confidence going forward. So don't be surprised if the Cypriot government ends up making big accounts foot the entire bill.

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