02 September, 2014 / Ziqa'ad 6, 1435

LONDON, July 11: Leading European banks are broadly on track for boosting their capital base to cushion against crises and the total funds raised exceed the target, the EBA oversight body said on Wednesday.Action to strengthen the banks had focused mainly on raising capital but also on reducing holdings of risky assets, and the measures had not crimped bank lending the European Banking Authority said.

“The measures initially identified have been implemented as planned,” it said.

“The vast majority of the banks in the sample meet the required ratio of nine per cent core tier one (capital).”

Although the climate “remains very challenging, the recapitalisation has contributed to strengthening the capital base of the banking system and put banks in a stronger position to continue lending to the real economy.”

EBA head Andrea Enria said that work to strengthen the capital base was going to plan and this should “support lending to the real economy and gradually restore banks' access to market funding.”The report said: “The process of balance sheet repair is, however, on-going.”

The EBA had reported in December 2011 at a particularly critical point in the eurozone crisis, that 27 banks had a total shortfall of 76 billion euros ($93.3 billion) in meeting a new requirement that top quality capital amount to 9.0 per cent of weighted risks being carried.

These banks had to meet the new target by the end of June this year.

The EBA, the EU body responsible for certain aspects of banking activity, initially surveyed 71 banks in the European Economic Area. It found that 37 banks had a total shortfall of 115 billion euros.

But three of these had to undergo major restructuring and a fourth, Spanish Bankia, has since had to be restructured, and six were covered by a programme for restructuring Greek banks.

The latest data submitted by banks showed that they “are generally on track to comply with the EBA recommendation,” the EBA said.

But it noted that seven of the 27 banks were “relying on government backstop measures to reach the 9.0-per cent level.” The preliminary study said that “the exercise will result in an aggregate 94.4 billion euros recapitalisation for the 27 and in a significant restructuring for the remaining four banks.”—AFP


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