July 6, 2016 / 4:25 PM / 3 years ago

EU finance ministers to oppose U.S.-led reform of global bank rules: document

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union finance ministers will issue a statement at their meeting next week urging bank regulators to avoid imposing a disproportionate increase of costs on European banks, draft conclusions of the meeting said.

A worker adjusts European Union and U.S. flags at the start of the 2nd round of EU-US trade negotiations for Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels in this November 11, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

The Basel Committee, a body of banking supervisors from nearly 30 countries, is reviewing global banking rules. The results are expected by the end of the year.

Ministers at their regular monthly meeting in Brussels on Tuesday will say “the reform package would not be expected to result in a significant increase in the overall capital requirements for the European banking sector,” according to draft conclusions seen by Reuters.

An EU official said that EU states agreed to take a common line in opposing wide-ranging reform, anticipating it will be too favorable to U.S. banks.

The core of the review is the introduction of models to calculate bank risks based on common standards, rather than on benchmarks developed internally by banks.

The objective is to facilitate the work of supervisors when they assess bank balance sheets. Banks from several European states oppose the plan, saying it would raise their costs.

The French and German banking federations said the new rules “may mean that the capital requirements for banks will rise in some cases by up to a further 50 percent,” a joint document released on Wednesday said.

France is in the frontline to oppose the reform, which critics are calling Basel IV, as if it were a new set of regulations. The Basel Committee says it is simply completing the already-agreed Basel III reform of global banking rules.

An initial draft of the EU finance ministers’ conclusions included a hard limit on how large an increase in the capital requirements Europe would be ready to accept. The text said that the reform should not increase requirements “by more than 5 percent” compared with existing capital obligations.

The hard limit was later removed, but ministers maintained a critical text which urges the Basel Committee in its reform effort “to ensure regulatory certainty, its coherence and effectiveness, while preserving the risk sensitivity of banking regulation”.

The draft conclusions will also call on global regulators to “carefully assess the design and calibration of this reform package on the basis of a comprehensive and transparent quantitative impact analysis”.

The impact analysis should also take into account “the distribution of its impact on the different banking models and across jurisdictions,” the document said.

A meeting of EU envoys is set to confirm the draft text on Thursday. Ministers next week are expected to adopt it with no changes.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio, editing by Larry King

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