Higher Capital Reserve Requirements for Banks

The Basel III rules just increased capital requirements for banks, from 2% to 7%.

Global regulators, aiming to prevent any repeat of the international credit crisis, agreed on Sunday to force banks to more than triple the amount of top-quality capital they must hold in reserve.

The biggest change to global banking regulation in decades, known as "Basel III," will require banks to hold top-quality capital totaling 7 percent of their risk-bearing assets, up from just 2 percent under current rules.

The rules may oblige banks to raise hundreds of billions of dollars of fresh capital over the next decade. Germany's banking association, for example, has estimated its 10 biggest banks may need 105 billion euros ($141 billion) of additional capital.

But to ease the burden on banks and financial markets, regulators gave the banks transition periods to comply with the rules. These periods, extending in some cases to January 2019 or later, are longer than many bankers originally expected.

But wait, some can hold off for up to 9 years! Believe this or not, many banks objected and it gets worse, it's total assets, not just capital capital. That includes derivatives:

The new requirement would oblige banks to maintain reserves of at least 3 percent of total assets, including derivatives or other instruments that they might not carry on their balance sheets.

Reuters has the specifics on tier 1 capital and definitions.

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