Lithuania Seeks Missing Assets in Takeover of Fifth-Biggest Bank

Lithuania’s banking regulator said hundreds of millions of dollars in assets may be missing from Bankas Snoras AB after the government took over the Baltic nation’s fifth-biggest lender on concern it may be insolvent, Bloomberg reported. More than 1 billion litai ($392 million) of assets may be unaccounted for, central bank Governor Vitas Vasiliauskas told reporters yesterday in the capital, Vilnius. Snoras’s operations were halted until Nov. 21 and a state administrator appointed after the lender ignored recommendations to reduce its credit risk, the regulator said in a statement. The Baltic region is recovering from the worst recession in the European Union, during which Latvia sought an international bailout after rescuing Parex Banka AS to protect it against a run on deposits. With 19.4 billion litai in foreign-currency reserves, Lithuania can handle the takeover of Snoras, the country’s largest locally owned bank, according to AB DnB Bankas economist Jekaterina Rojaka. “This isn’t a systemic problem for the banking sector,” Rojaka said yesterday in a telephone interview from Vilnius. Still, “the situation requires speedy and smooth action to contain panic and prevent a fall in government bonds.” Read more.