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U.S. banks resist as regulators plan global capital increases

In this post:

  • U.S. banks resist Federal Reserve’s proposal to raise bank capital requirements, citing overestimated risk and economic uncertainty.
  • The proposal particularly targets non-interest income, affecting banks like American Express and Morgan Stanley that rely heavily on such revenue.

In a contentious regulatory climate, leading U.S. banking institutions are rallying against a stringent financial reform measure that seeks to raise capital prerequisites.

This initiative, led by the Federal Reserve, has been met with increasing trepidation from lenders, many of whom are still grappling with the aftermath of the banking turbulence in March.

Concerns over non-interest revenue

The primary cause of concern for the banking sector emanates from the proposed imposition of elevated capital charges on non-interest revenue streams. This encompasses various avenues such as fees levied on credit cards or investment banking services.

This stipulation forms part of the international capital standards mandated by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, established as a response to the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

U.S. banks, particularly those with a considerable proportion of non-interest income, assert that the proposed regulation disproportionately magnifies the risk factor. Hence, these entities had been counting on U.S. regulatory authorities to temper its potential effects.

Such banks are striving to persuade regulators to impose a ceiling on the proportion of assets subject to these charges. However, it remains uncertain if this recommendation will be heeded.

It should be noted that many lenders have been harnessing non-interest services income as a growth strategy in recent years, underlining the potential impact of this regulatory change.

Entities such as American Express, Morgan Stanley, and U.S. units of Deutsche Bank, UBS, and Barclays, as identified by the Bank Policy Institute, all hold a considerable proportion of non-interest income. Therefore, the planned regulations could significantly affect their operations.

The Federal Reserve’s position remains staunchly in favor of ensuring strong capital reserves for banks. Yet, the implementation of these regulations must take into account the fine balance between necessary reform and possible adverse implications.

The regulatory proposal under development is also projected to levy stricter capital rules on smaller financial institutions boasting assets exceeding $100 billion. This would encompass banks that faced liquidity issues during this year’s crisis.

Banking executives argue that the recent banking failures resulted more from mismanagement and liquidity hitches rather than from a lack of capital. In fact, they maintain that current system-wide capital is quite adequate.

Concerns over potential repercussions

In a climate of investor anxiety regarding the health of the financial industry and the wider economy, a sudden increase in capital requirements could have unintended consequences. It may place undue strain on banks, negatively impacting lending and possibly leading to a credit crunch.

This apprehension is shared by some Republican officials within the regulatory agencies. Simultaneously, lawmakers have voiced concerns over these stringent capital rules.

The consensus seems to be the importance of considering the economic ramifications in a period of profound unpredictability.

The Federal Reserve, alongside the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), is working on drafting the Basel rules. Despite hopes of unveiling the proposal this month, the process has been delayed to July.

The FDIC Chairman has suggested that the Basel rules will be proposed soon, but likely not completed until mid-2024. Meanwhile, the acting Comptroller noted that they are receptive to the banking industry’s concerns.

The regulators’ challenge will be striking a balance between implementing necessary capital standards and considering the economic and operational impacts on U.S. banks.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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