Report “Credit Lost”

Report of the Parliamentary Committee Inquiry Financial System Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal (House of Representatives, Netherlands Parliament),
10 May 2010

From the report:

Background to and structure of the inquiry
In 2007, the world was shocked by the rapid increase of problems in the financial sector, which were caused largely by problems in the mortgage market in the United States. Since that time, uncertainty and ambiguity regarding the assessment and appraisal of the financial position of financial institutions have led to a strong decrease in confidence in these institutions. This situation brought many financial institutions into serious financial trouble in 2008 and 2009, and it put pressure on the stability of the international financial system. Many governments (including the government of the Netherlands) have responded by providing massive financial injections to support financial institutions, in the hopes of preventing the further collapse of the financial system. These actions were based on the knowledge that an adequately functioning financial system is of great importance to the functioning of our economy. Developments since 2007 have demonstrated that problems in the financial system can have a major influence on the economy and on our prosperity, with a financial crisis as a result.

The effect of the financial crisis on the economy, on society and on government finances induced the House of Representatives to launch a parliamentary inquiry into the causes of the financial crisis, the results of which were to be used as a foundation upon which to formulate recommendations for improvements in the financial system. The Finance Committee presented a proposal to this end to the Presidium of the House of Representatives on 10 June 2009. The proposal was based on the principles and assumptions that all of the parliamentary group leaders had established for this specific parliamentary inquiry. On 23 June 2009, the House of Representatives unanimously approved the Presidium’s proposal to hold a parliamentary inquiry into the crisis in the financial system and to have this inquiry conducted by a temporary inquiry committee. The Temporary Committee Inquiry Financial System (hereafter, the Committee) was established on the same day.

One of the starting assumptions formulated by the group leaders is that the parliamentary inquiry into the financial system would be conducted in two parts. The first part of the inquiry would focus on charting the causes of the turbulent developments, structural problems and the measures taken in the financial system. The results of this would then be used to make recommendations for the further structural improvement of the system. This report is the result of this process. The second part of the inquiry will focus on evaluating the Cabinet’s interventions in the financial sector since 28 September 2008. This was the date of the first governmental intervention: the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg pledging government participation in Fortis. The second part of the inquiry will begin after the elections of 9 June 2010.”

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