Macron says wants to change banking rules to boost lending

French President Emmanuel Macron gestures during the opening of a series of citizen's consultation meetings on Europe in Epinal, France, April 17, 2018. Frederick Florin/Pool via Reuters

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday he wanted to change the way European countries enforce banking and insurance capital rules in order to boost lending.

Banks follow global rules set by the Basel Committee, while European insurers are guided by the Solvency II regime that requires financial institutions to set aside a certain amount of capital to protect themselves from losses if clients go bust.

“Today, we have very strict rules with the result that banks lend less and less to small and medium sized companies,” Macron said in a town hall meeting with citizens in eastern France.

“We could modulate these rules for banks and insurance companies depending on the reality of the country and the economic cycle and that, when an economy recovers, we could guide banks’ targets - and that could be done by finance ministers and not only accounting and technical rules.”

It was not immediately clear how Macron intended to change the regulation.

Reporting by Michel Rose, Maya Nikolaeva, Editing by William Maclean