EU banks face 9.4 billion euro shortfall to meet capital rules

FILE PHOTO: European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) – Major banks in the European Union will have to collectively find 9.4 billion euros ($11.4 billion) by 2028 to plug a capital shortfall that will emerge under pending rules, the bloc’s banking watchdog said on Thursday.

Countries across the world are rolling out the final elements of Basel III, a tougher set of bank capital rules agreed by world leaders after taxpayers had to bail out lenders in the financial crisis over a decade ago.

“To comply with the new framework EU banks would need 9.4 billion euros of additional Tier 1 capital,” the European Banking Authority (EBA) said, referring to a lender’s core capital yardstick.

“These estimates are based on the assumption that Basel III requirements are implemented in full.”

The EBA, which assessed the capital implication of implementing the new rules on a sample of 106 banks in the EU, said Tier 1 minimum requirements would rise by an average 15.4%.

The output floor, or new minimum capital backstop being phased in over five years, accounts for roughly half of the 15.4% increase, hitting the biggest “Group 1” banks most around 2027, the EBA said.

World leaders in the Group of 20 Economies (G20) had agreed that the final elements of Basel III should not materially increase overall capital requirements in the banking sector.

The EU is expected to make changes to how Basel III is applied, in particular to ease the burden on smaller lenders, as banks are told by regulators to tap excess buffers to keep lending to the COVID hit economy.

The EU is consulting on how to implement the remaining Basel rules and France and Germany have said the output floor should in the main only relate to risk-based capital requirements to blunt its impact.

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