Ex-HBOS CEO Crosby says stress testing inadequate

LONDON Mon Dec 3, 2012 11:30am GMT

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LONDON Dec 3 (Reuters) - Former HBOS Chief Executive James Crosby said there were deficiencies in information given to management in the years leading up to the bank's near collapse in 2008 and some of the risks being taken were underestimated.

"With the benefit of hindsight it seems that, not withstanding improvements made after I departed, it was deficient in a number of ways; particularly the quantification and stress testing of corporate risks," Crosby said.

Crosby, who served as chief executive of the bank between 2001 and 2005, said that there was general unanimity in the boardroom around the group's strategy, although some divisions' plans "carried less support than others," prompting "good debates" at board level.

In written evidence to UK lawmakers before his appearance before the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards later on Monday, Crosby said that, with hindsight, the bank was taking more risk than was understood at the time.

"Some of the balance sheet risks taken by HBOS were underestimated or the tools used in their calibration were inadequate," Crosby said.

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