Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the United Nations to Wall Street to the Inner City

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYT Azerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .


Follow us on TWITTER

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

IMF Urges Romania Not to Help Too Many Consumers, Like Bolivia

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 10 -- On Romania back on February 6, Inner City Press asked the International Monetary Fund about its role in the government's plan to suspend but not cancel repayment of consumer loans, viewed as intended to help banks.

   Like Inner City Press' still-pending questions on the Sudans, Areva and Niger and Iran, the IMF did not answer that day or in the three days that followed.

  But now this IMF response has come in, and we publish it in full:

"The announced new voluntary scheme to support indebted low- and middle-income households provides them with extra liquidity for two years. We understand that it is aimed at those households whose debt is not overdue by more than 90 days with a view to backing weak domestic demand and thereby stimulating the overall economy. However, the detailed parameters of the scheme are still to be disclosed by the government and we look forward to reviewing the details so as to ensure that the future fiscal liability stays within the limits just agreed with the IMF/EC mission."

   That is, don't help TOO many people, nor those who most need the help. The answer was provided after Inner City Press questioned and wrote about the IMF's (similar?) criticism of Bolivia's banking law, that

"the law’s general thrust is to subordinate financial sector activities to social objectives with instruments that could create risks to financial stability. Main features of the law include: (i) provisions to regulate lending rates and set minimum lending quotas for the productive sector and social housing; (ii) discretion to set floors on deposit rates; and (iii) mechanisms to enhance consumer protection and financial access in rural areas."

  Inner City Press on February 10 asked the IMF's Mission Chief for Bolivia Ana Corbacho to explain this criticism, and more generally to reconcile Bolivia's and President Evo Morales' public critique of the IMF with this visit.

  In response to a question from Inner City Press at UN headquarters last month, Morales recounted how the IMF dominated Bolivia in the past, but now decision making had passed from the "Chicago to the Bolivia boys."

  The IMF staff report says they met with "Minister of Economy and Public Finances Arce, Central Bank President Zabalaga, Minister of Planning Caro, other senior public officials, and representatives of the private sector. Mr. Tamez and Ms. Kroytor (LEG) provided inputs on the new Financial Services Law at headquarters."

  The IMF staff report also says that "the instruments chosen (interest rate caps and minimum credit quotas) could reduce the profitability and lending funds of financial institutions, over-leverage target beneficiaries, and complicate the conduct of monetary policy."

   Ms. Corbacho, on an embargoed press conference call largely in Spanish on which only three media asked questions, replied that Bolivia for example capping interest rates might impact financial institution's profitability and thus "financial stability."

   She said the government responded that financial inclusion has not progressed fast enough and so they are taking these steps. She the Article IV discussion, which are held with each IMF member, were "very open and frank" with Bolivia, and thus positive.

  To Inner City Press, the IMF's willingness to question consumer protection in Bolivia stands in contrast to the IMF's deference to the US on the how to manage and communicate the Federal Reserve's tapering, the debt ceiling -- anything, essentially.

  This IMF position was propounded at last Thursday's IMF media briefing, at which questions on Africa -- the Sudans, Areva in Niger -- submitted over the Online Briefing Center by Inner City Press were not taken by IMF Spokesperson Gerry Rice, nor answered afterward by IMF staff. But as noted, Inner City Press' Romania question has not been answered. The others? Watch this site.


Share |

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

Click for re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-303, UN, NY 10017 USA

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-2014 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]