Jan. 1, 2015, but be phased in more gradually than planned -- and
will not take full effect until Jan. 1, 2019.
This so-called liquidity coverage ratio also defines what qualifies as liquid assets. For example, the assets cannot be ones already pledged as collateral. And they must be under control of a bank's central treasury, so it can act quickly to raise cash if needed.
On Sunday the central bankers and regulators broadened the definition of liquid assets. For example, banks will be allowed to use securities backed by mortgages to meet a portion of the requirement.
The vast majority of big banks already meet the requirements, but some do not, Mr. King said. The decision reduces pressure on those banks to hold more cash or buy high-quality government bonds to meet the rules on liquid assets.
"By having a gradual process, the banks that need to adjust will have enough time to make those adjustments," said Stefan Ingves, governor of the Swedish central bank, who is also chairman of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.
The panel said it was continuing to discuss another set of regulations designed to prevent banks from becoming overly dependent on short-term funding. But it did not announce any new decisions Sunday.
Before the Lehman bankruptcy, some institutions made long-term loans using money they borrowed for very short periods. While this practice -- known as maturity transformation -- is a normal part of banking, it can make a bank vulnerable to disruptions in the market if carried to extremes.
For example, Depfa, an Irish bank owned by Hypo Real Estate of Germany, issued long-term loans to governments using money it borrowed in short-term money markets. The bank made a profit from the difference between what it could charge for the long-term loans and what it paid to borrow short term. But after Lehman collapsed, Depfa was no longer able to borrow on international money markets to roll over its obligations. Its parent, Hypo Real Estate, required a taxpayer bailout to survive.
The new rules are aimed at preventing similar situations, by ensuring for example that banks have a variety of funding sources and are not overly dependent on one market or lender.
Although the Basel Committee drafts global banking rules, it is up to individual countries to write them into law. The United States has lagged behind countries including China, India and Saudi Arabia in putting the rules into force, according to an assessment by the Basel Committee in September. The U.S. delay has led to some grumbling from other members.
Bank industry representatives have argued that stricter capital and liquidity requirements increase the cost for banks to raise money, which they must pass on to customers. One of the most vocal critics of the new regulations is the Institute of International Finance in Washington, whose members include many large banks in the United States and Europe, like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank.
In October, the I.I.F. issued a report arguing that the liquidity coverage ratio and other new rules would make banks less willing to issue longer-term loans or hold debt issued by smaller companies, whose bonds usually have lower credit ratings. The rules would also penalize banks in emerging countries, the I.I.F. said, because they have less access to low-risk assets.
Proponents of the new rules argue that banks will be able to raise money more cheaply if they are perceived as being less vulnerable, offsetting the cost of implementing the new rules. They point out that American banks have generally recovered from the crisis more quickly than European banks because U.S. regulators forced them to raise new capital.
National regulators in European countries have been more hesitant to require banks to bolster their reserves, and many banks on the Continent are still struggling.
The Group of Governors and Heads of Supervision, the organization that met Sunday, is made up of the central bank chiefs and top regulators of the world's largest economies. The chairman is Mervyn A. King, governor of the Bank of England.
Countries represented on the committee are: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
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