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Extra resources for Bringing Down the Banking System: Lessons from Iceland
M. , Minister of Commerce Sigurdsson and his advisor meet with Glitnir’s Chairman Baldvinsson and one of the major shareholders. The Minister and his advisor are told that the Central Bank’s decision is very serious, not just for Glitnir, but also for the other banks, and are asked whether the share percentage being purchased can be lowered. 48 Around the same time, one of the deputy governors of the Central Bank receives a call that Glitnir’s Board will make a decision very soon. Moments later, Minister of Commerce Sigurdsson and his advisor arrive at Prime Minister Haarde’s home to discuss whether the share percentage can be reduced.
22 That afternoon, the Minister of Commerce, Bjorgvin Sigurdsson, on a trip outside Reykjavik with some of his staff, has still not been notified of Glitnir’s problems. , when the media reports a meeting in the prime ministry with the Board of Governors attending, the advisor to the Minister of Commerce, Jon Thor Sturluson, calls the prime minister’s economic advisor, Tryggvi Thor Herbertsson, asking if anything is going on. Herbertsson replies: “No, no, nothing happening. 23 That Saturday evening, Sturla Palsson, the Central Bank’s director of Market Operations, and Jon Sigurgeirsson, the economist from the Central Bank Governor’s office, prepare the first draft of a memo outlining the possible options in response to Glitnir’s problems.
While most people were anxious, they were also relieved that Prime Minister Haarde was going to address the nation. Many Icelanders expected a broadcast that would calm the situation and even bring people ease. Very few were in a position to extrapolate the elusive effects of contagion and consider how much worse things could get. With my mother living near the university, my husband and I decided to meet at her place to watch the broadcast. m. Within a couple of minutes, Prime Minister Haarde COLL APSE 15 appeared, sitting at a desk in the National Broadcasting Service studio with a dark blue background fading into black behind him and the Icelandic coat of arms up to the left.