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EU in quandary over rules to encourage smaller banks: watchdog
May 17, 2016 / 4:35 PM / 2 years ago

EU in quandary over rules to encourage smaller banks: watchdog

LONDON (Reuters) - The European Union has yet to find a way of tailoring capital rules to smaller banks without making them less able to withstand market shocks, a top banking regulator said.

Adam Farkas, Executive Director of the European Banking Authority delivers a speech during the Swiss Banking Global symposium in Zurich, November 16, 2012. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer/File Photo

States like Britain and Germany have been calling for EU rules to be made more “proportionate” for smaller banks to help them grow and lend more to the economy.

While work on this has already begun at the European Banking Authority (EBA), which writes and coordinates banking rules across the 28-country bloc, it has yet to finalize its approach.

“I would say there are some obvious areas where this can be easily conceived, such as in reporting,” Adam Farkas, EBA’s executive director, told the Reuters Regulation Summit.

“But my sense of the mood of the general policymaker community is that the appetite for differentials in prudential requirements is not very strong,” Farkas added on Tuesday.

The challenge for regulators was how to fashion simpler rules to different parts of the banking system, with size not always the obvious yardstick, he said.

“I am deliberately not using the notion of size as the only measure because we did have major issues in the European banking system with small banks,” Farkas said.

In Spain, problems at relatively small lenders ended up crippling the system and requiring an EU bailout.

“What we are trying to think of is how would you design proportionate rules to different types of banks in Europe without undermining the prudential standards,” he added.

The watchdog faces pressure from the EU’s financial services chief Jonathan Hill who wants to show that his broad review of regulation rushed through since the 2007-09 financial crisis can come up with practical changes to encourage more lending.

“I hope that it will bear fruit. It demonstrates how Europe can work if it wants to,” Bank of England Deputy Governor Andrew Bailey said of Hill’s review at the Reuters summit.

Hill proposed on Tuesday exempting more lenders from the toughest version of capital rules altogether.

Follow Reuters Summits on Twitter @Reuters_Summits

Editing by Alexander Smith

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