Germany eyes 'bank for the economy': report

BERLIN, Feb 23, 2009 (AFP) - Germany's economy ministry is mulling the creation of a "bank for the economy" to help firms hobbled by liquidity problems, business daily Handelsblatt reported Monday.

The bank's purpose would be to speed up access to cash for ailing businesses, as mainstream banks remain hesitant to lend amid the ongoing financial crisis.

"We would hope for quick decisions and a high level of flexibility," Handelsblatt cited an anonymous ministry source as saying.

Several major German companies, including car manufacturer Opel and auto components firm Schaeffler, have recently called for help from the government, complaining of liquidity problems.

In its second stimulus plan -- which cleared its final hurdle Friday -- Berlin established a 100-billion-euro (130-billion-dollar) fund to assist firms with credit difficulties.

According to press reports, the amount requested by firms already exceeds that envisaged.

Source: AFP

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