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British government holds firm on bank reform

British government holds firm on bank reform
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The British government has rejected calls for a tougher approach to bank regulation, including making banks limit how much they can invest.

Responding to public concerns about reckless bankers needing bailouts with taxpayers’ cash, the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards had pushed for stricter rules rather than waiting for Europe-wide regulation:

The head of that panel of UK lawmakers, Andrew Tyrie MP, said: “It’s we who need to sort out what’s best for Britain. We need to work out what’s right for our industry, not wait for a lowest common denominator decision from the Basel group.”

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision is overseeing European reforms.

The British government’s view is that there is no immediate need for stricter limits on risk-taking by banks.

Greg Clark, Financial Secretary to the UK Treasury said London would resist calls to impose far stricter rules on how much banks can leverage their capital for investments and lending, insisting that there is no need to do so before 2018.

The British government is forcing banks to limit leverage to 33 times their capital, in line with international regulations, and rejected Monday’s call from the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards to stiffen the rules to curb risk-taking even more.

“Our view is that at this time we should follow the international approach, to press for countries to have a power to set a higher ratio for 2018 following a review in 2017,” said Clark.

The British Bankers’ Association has said London should work with other European countries to coordinate reforms.

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