Swiss banks need extra 3 bln Sfr capital to meet mortgage rules

ZURICH Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:06am EST

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ZURICH Feb 13 (Reuters) - The Swiss government said banks will need to raise additional capital of 3 billion Swiss francs ($3.28 billion) as part of measures it announced on Wednesday to cool a housing bubble.

Serge Gaillard, director of the Swiss finance department, told a news conference that the figure was equivalent to the amount banks make in profit in one year.

Real estate prices and mortgage lending have risen strongly in Switzerland in recent years, a by-product of the ultra-low interest rates set by the central bank to lessen the appeal of the safe-haven Swiss franc and prevent a recession.

The government action comes as the result of a request from the Swiss National Bank, which has repeatedly expressed concern about overheating house prices and said on Wednesday "imbalances" had intensified further in the second half of 2012. ($1 = 0.9157 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Emma Thomasson; writing by Caroline Copley)

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