Basel III Capital Requirements Face Dilution

Revised bank leverage-ratio plan is expected to be less strict, reducing the likelihood that new capital requirements will severely curtail lending.

Lenders are poised to win concessions from central bank chiefs and global regulators over a debt limit they criticized as a blunt instrument that would penalize low-risk activities and curtail lending.

A revised leverage-ratio plan is set to be laxer than a draft published last year by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, said a person familiar with the scope of a Jan. 12 meeting of the group’s oversight body at which the measure will be discussed.

Relying on leverage ratios to assess a bank’s strength wouldn’t be sensible, as the measure can easily be influenced and is hard to compare between lenders under different reporting standards, Rabobank Groep Chief Financial Officer Bert Bruggink said in an interview this week.

“For banks reporting under European accounting rules, a leverage ratio of 3 percent or 4 percent is very well defendable,” Bruggink said. “Requiring higher numbers, especially if that’s done with reference to U.S. banks, would be wrong and harmful to the economy.”

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