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BRUSSELS (AFP) — Belgian banking officials sought to hammer out a plan on Sunday aimed at maintaining confidence in the Belgian-Dutch financial group Fortis, a spokesman for Belgium's financial regulator said.
Officials were hoping to reach a solution on Fortis, whose shares have been hammered by liquidity concerns, by Sunday "afternoon or evening," said the spokesman for the Belgian Banking, Finance and Insurance Commission (CBFA).
"There always are meetings and we are always examining initiatives that we will take with the BNB (Belgium's central bank)," the spokesman said.
Belgian officials were coordinating with authorities in the Netherlands overseeing Fortis, including the Dutch Central Bank, in order to find a common solution, he said.
Belgian ministers held a cabinet meeting late Saturday with central bank and CBFA officials to discuss the global financial crisis, and "especially Fortis," said a spokesman for Prime Minister Yves Leterme.
The spokesman refused to give more details, saying, "We will make a statement as soon as there is a solution, but not before that because it's unnecessary."
In Amsterdam, Dutch Finance Minister Wouter Bos met late Saturday with top central bank officials, the ANP news agency reported, but no details were given about the subject of the meeting.
Fortis said late Friday it had replaced its chief executive, Herman Verwilst, with Filip Dierckx, head of its banking division.
After two days of steep slides in its share price, the Belgian-Dutch banking and insurance group hastily arranged a news conference to assure clients that their deposits were safe and that it had ample funding.
But shares in the group only fell further, sliding nearly 21 percent Friday -- down 71 percent since the beginning of the year.