(Adds Fed plan to propose changing leverage calculations)
By Emily Stephenson
WASHINGTON, April 1 U.S. bank regulators will
meet next week to vote on final rules that would force the
biggest U.S. banks to rely less on debt to fund their
businesses, the Federal Reserve said on Tuesday.
The Fed's board of governors will meet on April 8 to
finalize the so-called leverage requirements, seen as much
tougher than the rules crafted by international regulators when
U.S. officials first proposed them in July 2013.
The rules are part of an global agreement to fortify banks
known as Basel III. Unlike risk-based capital requirements,
leverage limits are calculated as a percentage of a company's
total assets, and are considered harder to game.
The Fed, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC) and Office of
the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) proposed forcing the eight
biggest U.S. banks, including JPMorgan Chase and
Citigroup, to maintain equity capital equal to 6 percent
of their total assets.
The bank holding companies would have to meet a 5 percent
FDIC Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig told reporters in February
that he expected the final rules would closely mirror the
proposal. The Fed did not release the details of the final rules
Fed officials also will propose at the April 8 meeting
tweaking the way banks tally up assets to calculate their
capital needs under the leverage rules.
In January, international regulators revised their method
for calculating leverage requirements. The changes made the
ratios tougher to meet in some ways, including by adjusting the
way derivatives are treated.
Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo recently told a congressional
panel that the Fed expected to align its rules with the global
The FDIC and OCC also must take up the capital rules but
have not announced when they will do so.
(Reporting by Emily Stephenson; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and