September 15, 2016 / 10:00 PM / 3 years ago

Top U.S. bank regulator defends standards on capital, leverage

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Sept 15 (Reuters) - The U.S. Comptroller of the Currency on Thursday defended capital requirements and other standards for banks and said they have made the institutions more competitive coming out of the financial crisis.

Speaking at an evening event at Harvard University, the comptroller, Thomas Curry, whose agency regulates national banks, said it would be a poor time to relax rules, as some have suggested.

“Now is not the time to change course,” said Curry, according to his prepared remarks.

He cited improvements to bank balance sheets such as that Tier 1 common equity is now about 13 percent of risk-weighted assets, up from 9 percent in late 2008, while the leverage ratio is now at 9.3 percent, about a third higher than in 2008.

Against foreign banks, “The high standards here in the U.S. have made our banks stronger in absolute terms and in comparitive terms, “ Curry said.

In August, the Bank of England eased a broad measure of capital adequacy for banks to help avoid crimping the flow of credit after the vote in June to leave the European Union. (reut.rs/2alqlXk)

Reporting by Ross Kerber in Cambridge, Mass.; Editing by Bernard Orr

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