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EU welcomes relaxation of bank capital buffer terms

07 January 2013, 17:50 CET
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EU welcomes relaxation of bank capital buffer terms

Photo © Roman Levin - Fotolia

(BRUSSELS) - The European Commission on Monday welcomed the agreement by top regulators to ease the burden on banks to increase their capital, a move which should also help the economy by providing more credit.

EU Financial Markets Commissioner Michel Barnier said the decision "addresses issues already raised" by Brussels, satisfying concerns over the future of the banks and their role in supporting the economic recovery.

"I welcome the unanimous agreement reached by the Basel Committee," Barnier said in a statement after regulators allowed the banks to use a wider set of assets to provide quick cash if needed in a fresh financial crisis.

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision said Sunday that since the tighter Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) rule was proposed in 2010, the banks held it would be costly and counterproductive as it would undercut lending, their core business.

The regulators aid the LCR system would still come into effect, in 2015 as planned, but it would be phased in gradually through to 2019.

"This is significant progress," Barnier said.

"The treatment of liquidity is fundamental, both for the stability of banks as well as for their role in supporting wider economic recovery," he added.

Sunday's Basel accord sparked sharp gains Monday in the shares of major banks on the view they would have more money to invest than would otherwise have been the case if the tougher rules had been applied.

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

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