Nov 16 U.S. regulators writing new rules
requiring banks to hold more capital should consider issuing
simpler requirements for community banks, a top Treasury
Department official said on Friday.
Mary Miller, the department's under secretary for domestic
finance, said rules to implement the international Basel III
agreement should take into account the roles small banks play in
their communities through mortgage lending and other areas.
"In Treasury's conversations with community banks and with
our colleagues at the regulatory agencies, it has become clear
that the standards established in Basel III may have different
implications for different types of institutions," Miller said
in a speech at an international banking conference in Chicago.
"While we strongly believe that finalizing the regulations
is critically important for certainty and planning, we also
believe there are merits to considering alternative, simpler
approaches to rules that apply to community banks."
The Basel III capital agreement is considered one of the
most critical reform efforts to make sure the global banking
system is more resilient in the aftermath of the 2007-2009
The Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp and
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency proposed rules in June
to implement Basel III but have not yet put out a final version.
Regulators have told banks the rules will not take effect in
January, as previously expected.
Community banks have argued that parts of the U.S. rules are
much too complicated and that the extra costs to comply could
stifle lending and wind up hurting the U.S. economic recovery.
Officials from the three bank agencies told a U.S. Senate
panel on Wednesday that they expect to tweak the rules before
finalizing them and that they will pay particular attention to
feedback from community institutions.
Miller also said on Friday that U.S. bank regulators should
be careful to coordinate with international regulators so that
they do not issue discordant rules that make compliance
difficult fo r banks.