US bankers welcome Basel II option move

Washington - 5 September 2006

(Global Risk Regulator) – US banking industry representatives today welcomed the decision by US federal regulators to seek comment on whether to allow US banks a wider choice of options under the controversial Basel II bank safety rules.

But at the same time, regulators stressed their commitment to a conservative interpretation of the Basel II bank capital adequacy rules designed by the global banking regulators of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.

American Bankers Association (ABA) executive director Wayne Abernathy said the ABA applauded the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) “for including the Basel II standardised approach in the options up for discussion”.

Abernathy was referring to today’s approval by the board of the FDIC, the agency that insures customer deposit at US banks, of the delayed and revised notice of proposed rulemaking, or NPR, relating to the implementation of Basel II in the US. The ABA is the leading trading body representing both large and small US banks.

The FDIC board approval completed a five-month approval process which began at the end of March with the issue of a preliminary draft NPR by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. The other two federal agencies involved are the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision, both of whose heads sit on the five-member FDIC board.

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