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Most of Europe's banks pass 'stress tests'

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Most of Europe's banks pass 'stress tests'


Health checks on 90 European banks were released on Friday, with just eight lenders failing the so-called stress tests.

The European Banking Authority – a London based watchdog – made 90 lenders reveal details of their finances. In addition to the eight which failed, another 16 described as being “in the danger zone.”

Five banks in Spain, two in Greece and one in Austria “flunked” the test. Despite a clean bill of health, the Bank of Portugal said two of the country’s banks would immediately begin bolstering their finances.

“The Bank of Portugal has decided the banks have to reinforce their base capital to exceed comfortably the five percent minimum base of these tests,” explained Carlos Costa, Governor of the Bank of Portugal

All the French lenders passed the tests. The country’s banks hold large amounts of Greek debt but French politicians are confident their lenders are solid.

“With the four French banks passing the tests it really means that even in the worst possible scenario they can maintain a level of funds largely superior to that of the five percent required,” said Francois Baroin, French Minister of Economy

Market analysts have criticised the credibility of the tests saying they did not build in the expectation of a sovereign Greek default while some said with so few failing it was not the solution to restore confidence.

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