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FDIC Plans Vote Next Week on Higher Leverage Ratio Rule

U.S. banks may face capital requirements that exceed the so-called Basel III minimum when the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. considers a new proposal next week.

The FDIC -- one of three agencies that must approve the rules cleared today by the Federal Reserve -- added a vote on “enhanced supplementary leverage ratio standards” to its July 9 meeting agenda.

Basel III, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision’s latest set of global standards, requires banks to hold loss-absorbing capital equal to 3 percent of total assets, known as a leverage ratio. The U.S. is considering doubling that requirement for its largest lenders, people familiar with the talks have said.

Andrew Gray, an FDIC spokesman, declined to comment on the details of the proposal. FDIC Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig has repeatedly called for a ratio of 10 percent tangible equity to tangible assets.

The FDIC will consider Basel III as an “interim final rule” rather than as a final rule as the Fed did, according to the agenda. Gray said the agency is doing so in order to move the other rules forward while leaving the process open-ended as a new leverage ratio rule is considered. U.S. Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry, who also must approve Basel III, said in a statement today that he would do so next week.

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