The US Federal Reserve is keeping an eye on European banks struggling with the continent’s debt crisis because of volatile financial markets, one of the central bank’s most influential policymakers said on late Friday.William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, was responding to report this week in the Wall Street Journal that the bank is taking a closer look at the US units of Europe’s biggest banks, out of concern that a eurozone debt crisis could spill into the US banking system.
“We’re looking at our banks, European banks, basically because of the turbulence that we’ve seen in the financial markets,” Dudley told a gathering of New Jersey business leaders, adding that doing so was “normal, standard operating procedure” for the central bank.
“The reality is we monitor European banks and US banks every day, so there’s nothing to be particularly alarmed about about that,” Dudley said. “It’s prudent for us to make sure that we understand what’s going on.” Dudley said the “good news” is that banks are in a stronger position than they were several years ago.“Capital levels are much higher, the quality of capital is much better, credit quality at the banks is improving, and the banks have huge liquidity buffers compared to what they had in 2008,” he said.“There is some stress in the system right now ... But we’re in much, much better shape than we were back several years ago,” he said.Capital standards designed to fortify the global financial system are eroding as European officials, beset by a debt crisis, rewrite the regulations and US rulemaking stalls.
The 27 member-states of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision fought over the new regime, known as Basel III, for more than a year before agreeing in December to require banks to bolster capital and reduce reliance on borrowing. Now, as they put the standards into effect in their own countries, European Union lawmakers are revising definitions of capital, while the US is struggling to reconcile the Basel mandates with financial reforms imposed by the Dodd-Frank Act.
“The game on the ground has changed in Europe and the US,” said V. Gerard Comizio, a former Treasury Department lawyer who is now a senior partner at Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker LLP in Washington. “The realists in Europe realised that their banks cannot raise the capital they’d need to comply. US banks have reversed course and are more assertively fighting against it.
From / Gulf Today