U.S. Weighs Doubling Leverage Standard for Big Banks

Only one of the six biggest banks already meets the capital requirement that insiders say U.S. regulators are considering.

U.S. regulators are considering doubling a minimum capital requirement for the largest banks, which could force some of them to halt dividend payments.

The standard would increase the amount of capital the lenders must hold to 6 percent of total assets, regardless of their risk, according to four people with knowledge of the talks. That’s twice the level set by global banking supervisors.

Fed Study

The FDIC, prodded by Hoenig, is pushing for a leverage requirement even higher than 6 percent, according to four people with knowledge of the talks.

Political Pressure

Senators Vitter and Brown have gone further than Basel in what should be included in the calculation of assets. While their bill has failed to gain much support, it has increased pressure on regulators to get tougher in their rule-making, the people with knowledge of the talks said.

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