Fri, Jun 21, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Five British banks facing huge capital shortfall: regulator

AFP, LONDON

Britain’s five biggest banks needed an extra £27.1 billion (US$41.9 billion) at the end of last year to meet rules on capital backup, and must sell more assets and slash costs further, regulators said yesterday.

The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), the Bank of England’s banking supervision division, said in a statement that this figure compared with the previous estimated shortfall of £25 billion given in March.

Lenders already had plans in place to raise £13.7 billion of capital — but needed to find another £13.4 billion, according to the regulator.

Barclays needed to raise £1.7 billion, while state-rescued pair Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) needed to find another £7 billion and £3.2 billion respectively, the PRA said.

“All of the firms have been informed of their requirements and have produced for the PRA plans to meet them,” it said.

“It is for the firms themselves to announce the actions they plan to take. In aggregate, the additional actions, which include disposals and restructurings, will generate the equivalent of an additional £13.4 billion of capital,” the PRA said.

FUND-RAISING

It added that the British units of Santander, HSBC, Standard Chartered and Nationwide Building Society could find the additional cash via their existing capital-raising plans.

The PRA is tasked with ensuring that all major British banks hold capital resources equivalent to at least 7 percent of their risk-weighted assets.

“The PRA’s assessment is that, at the end of 2012, five of the eight banks [Barclays, Co-operative Bank, LBG, Nationwide and RBS] fell short of this standard,” it said in the statement.

“They had an aggregate capital shortfall relative to this standard of £27.1 billion,” it said.

The announcement came one day after British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne ordered a review into whether bailed-out RBS should be split into “good” and “bad” banks, as part of the government’s plan to return it to the private sector.

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