ECONOMY

Germany’s private sector chips in with support

Germany’s top lenders and insurers pledged to buttress a bailout of debt-ridden Greece, mainly by keeping open credit lines to banks, and by agreeing not to sell Greek bonds for the duration of a wider IMF-led bailout. The move marks the first commitment by the private sector to contribute to a 110-billion-euro rescue agreed by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund on Sunday, after Athens committed itself to years of painful austerity. Other European finance ministers are also preparing to ask banks for similar help. Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said at a press conference attended by top banking officials in Berlin that German financial firms had agreed to buy bonds issued by state-controlled bank KfW as a way to finance a bailout. Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Officer Josef Ackermann said that Deutsche Bank plans to make a «sizable contribution.» «It’s extraordinarily important that now we really extinguish the house fire that began to burn,» Ackermann told reporters in Berlin. The package from the EU and IMF helped «put out the fire» and Germany’s financial institutions «have announced their willingness» to support those efforts. Schaeuble, who has called for private sector involvement along with opposition politicians in Germany, organized the meeting in Berlin with executives and officials including Ackermann, DZ Bank AG Chief Executive Officer Wolfgang Kirsch, Commerzbank AG CEO Martin Blessing, HVB Group head Theodor Weimer and Bundesbank President Axel Weber.