European bank tests to be softened: FT

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European banking regulators will soften parts of bank stress tests despite claims that last year's results failed to uncover the scale of the Irish banking crisis, the Financial Times reported Wednesday.

The new test will simulate the impact of a drop of 15 percent in equity markets, compared with the more stringent 20 percent worse-case figure used in last year's test, according to documents seen by the business paper.

News of the test comes two days after the chairman of the European Banking Authority (EBA), set up to replace the much-criticised Committee of European Banking Supervisors, told the paper he would get tough on banks.

Andrea Enria told the FT he was preparing to introduce a 'near fail' category to make the tests more credible and to use it as a trigger for a thorough recapitalisation of Europe's weakest banks.

A senior London-based bank analyst told the paper: "There is nothing in what has emerged to change the market's views about this process. It was a joke last time. Why is it not going to be a fudge this time?"

The EBA's forerunner lost credibility after Ireland was forced to seek a bailout to save its two major banks, which both passed the 2010 stress test.

© 2011 AFP

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