Britain's banks face some of the world's toughest regulations under reforms outlined yesterday that require them to insulate their retail lending activities and store up billions in extra capital.
Finance minister George Osborne said he would fast-track legislation based on the proposals from the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB), which could cost the industry up to £7 billion (Dh42 billion) a year. The purpose of the reforms is to avoid a repeat of the financial crisis, when huge injections of government cash were required to bail out Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland.
In its report, the ICB insisted banks hold core capital of at least ten per cent of risk-weighted assets in their domestic retail operations.
They will have to hold a further seven to ten per cent of capital that can be in the form of "bail-in" bonds — which take a loss or convert into equity to recapitalise a bank if it hits trouble — giving a requirement they hold a total of primary loss-absorbing capital of between 17 and 20 per cent. The ICB recommended the reforms be completed by 2019. The British government backed the report.