Banks best Basel as regulators dilute or delay capital rules
More than 500 representatives from 27 nations, including top regulators and central bankers, met dozens of times this year to hammer out 440 pages of new rules to govern the world’s banks. What’s not in the documents published by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, and the escape hatches that are, may have more impact on how financial institutions will operate following a global credit crisis that led to $1.8 trillion in bank losses and writedowns. The committee’s most significant achievement, members say, an agreement to increase the amount of capital banks need to hold, won’t go into full effect for eight years. Other measures that regulators had hoped would prevent future crises — liquidity standards, a capital surcharge on the biggest lenders and a global resolution mechanism for failing firms — were postponed, allowing banks to escape the toughest rules that would force them to change the way they do business.