European banks 'avoiding capital rules'

9 November 2011

European banks are boosting their capital ratios without the need to sell their assets or change lending criteria, a report has stated.

Recently, regulators in the continent demanded that financiers lifted their figures to nine per cent of risk-weighted assets before the end of June 2012 - something the European Banking Authority recently estimated will require them to raise some $148 billion.

And, according to Bloomberg, some lenders have decided to employ a scheme known as "risk-weighted asset optimisation", which essentially involves them simply declaring assets they hold less risky than they were yesterday.

This is because the majority of banks are eager to avoid a situation where they need to cover the shortfall this regulatory requirement will cause by reducing their dividends or bonuses.

However, Adrian Blundell-Wignall of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris told the news source this risks the possibility of making core capital ratios "useless".

By Gary Cooper

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