Twenty-four European banks fail EBA stress test

Twenty-four European banks have failed stress tests of their finances, the European Banking Authority has announced.


The banks now have nine months to shore up their finances or risk being shut down.

They include nine Italian banks, three Greek banks and three Cypriot banks.
The health check was carried out on 123 EU banks by the EBA to determine whether they could withstand another financial crisis.

The review was based on the banks’ financial health at the end of 2013.
Ten of them have taken measures to bolster their balance sheets in the meantime. All the remaining 14 banks are in the eurozone.

The worst affected was Italian bank Monte dei Paschi, which had a capital shortfall of €2.1bn.

BBC World Service economic correspondent Andrew Walker says concerns about banks were a central element in the eurozone financial crisis and in some countries, their weakness remains a factor holding back economic growth.

‘Robust’ exercise

Four UK banks were subjected to the EBA test: Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays.

None of them failed the test, but Lloyds passed narrowly, with capital under adverse scenarios of 6.2%, not far from the 5.5% benchmark.

At the same time, the European Central Bank (ECB) carried out an overlapping survey of 130 banks.

The ECB said 25 banks had failed its test, but 12 of those had already taken remedial action.

The European Commission welcomed the results of the EBA and ECB assessments.

It said they had been “robust exercises, unprecedented in scale and among the most stringent worldwide”.

It added that they represented an important step towards an operational Single Supervisory Mechanism, which is a key component of the EU’s planned banking union.

“Yet there is no room for complacency,” the Commission said in a statement.
“Rigorous and timely follow-up actions to the results of the exercises will be absolutely crucial,” it added.

Analysts said the results of the tests were much as expected. “The first impression is that there are few surprises,” said Max Anderl of UBS Global Asset Management.

“The document refers to many of the ‘usual suspects’, mainly in Greece, Portugal and Italy,” he added.

Source: BBC / Oct. 26, 2014


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