| LONDON/MILAN, April 2
LONDON/MILAN, April 2 The European Central Bank
(ECB) will push banks to the limits with data requests for its
upcoming review of their books and insist on common treatment
for all 128 banks, it told Reuters, signalling it will not give
way to complaints raised by lenders.
The ECB is preparing for its new role as the euro zone's
banking supervisor by assessing whether the region's biggest
lenders have fully recognised losses already incurred, and
whether they have enough capital to deal with another crisis
without publicly-funded bailouts.
Banks have baulked at the onerous requirements of the
review, which is billed as the most comprehensive they have ever
undergone, could force them to raise extra capital and is
designed to restore investor confidence in a sector that's
valued well below its U.S. peers.
"At the March 26 meeting in Frankfurt all the banks
complained, especially French and German ones," UBI Banca
chief executive Victor Massiah said on Monday,
referring to a meeting between senior bank executives and ECB
officials. He added the ECB had requested a huge amount of data
and the process was very laborious for banks.
A report in Italy's Il Messaggero newspaper said the ECB had
agreed to talk to banks on a one-to-one basis about some
specific cases on real estate asset valuations after banks'
protested about the review's demands.
The ECB's rules require independent valuations for all
assets where valuations were more than a year out of date in
"We are committed to create a level playing field with
comparable situations and comparability of results. Different
treatment is not an option," an ECB spokesperson told Reuters in
response to questions about the potential for reaching
agreements with banks on an individual basis.
"The consequence is that we need to push banks to their
limits with respect to data requests, to harmonised definitions
and comparable descriptions."
A separate report in Spain's Vozpopuli online newspaper said
French banks protested at the unacceptable workload imposed by
the tests, which include more than 100 fields of data for one
Banks have been fighting a rearguard action against the
details of the review since they were announced on March 11.
"Of course banks are complaining about workload, it does
require additional work," said one national supervisory source.
"If we are going to do a thorough job, we'll go through them
again (asset valuations), and that's it."
"Common sense is allowed, but I would not say that we'll
make any exceptions," he added.
(Additional reporting by Lisa Jucca and Silvia Aloisi in Milan;
Reporting by Laura Noonan; Editing by Mark Potter)