G20 may punish bank capital reform delinquents: officials

Sun Nov 4, 2012 5:59pm EST
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By Alexandra Alper and Louise Egan

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The world's biggest economies will soon discuss how to punish countries that fail to implement tougher new bank rules in a crucial test of their resolve to prevent another financial crisis, officials said.

Countries that miss the deadline for introducing new rules -- called Basel III -- could be named and shamed as the world's top policy makers try to sew up reforms to ring-fence the global economy from problems at financial institutions.

The new rules will force banks to roughly triple the size of capital buffers they hold so they don't come calling for taxpayer bailouts the next time they are in trouble. They are scheduled to be phased in over six years starting in January.

But the United States and Europe, home to most of the world's largest banks, have not yet finalized their rules, prompting speculation that the timetable may be postponed.

Juan Manuel Valle, head of banking supervision at Mexico's finance ministry, said before a meeting of Group of 20 finance chiefs that no country had suggested a delay but any that failed to meet the deadline would face pressure from their peers and could be publicly named as "non-compliant".

"The G20 is going to be put to the test. What is it going to do with countries that don't comply?" Valle told Reuters in an interview.

"For the ones that don't have regulations in place in January, the question will be, what kind of punishment will they face?" he said. "Clearly, there's going to be a lot of pressure for some measures to be taken against them."

Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan told Reuters that foot-dragging by some countries was "a matter of concern".   Continued...