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FDIC Signs Off on Higher Capital Standards for U.S. Banks

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. approved new global capital rules and a proposal to boost requirements for U.S. banks above the international standards.

The five-member FDIC board voted 4-1 today for the 3 percent leverage ratio mandated by the international Basel III accord, and unanimously proposed to boost that minimum at eight of the biggest U.S. lenders to 5 percent of assets for parent companies and 6 percent for their banking units.

The FDIC’s action brings the U.S. closer to meeting global agreements on bolstering banks. The 2010 Basel III rules are designed to prevent a repeat of the 2008 crisis that almost destroyed the financial system.

The changes would make lenders fund more assets with capital that can absorb losses instead of with borrowed money. Bankers say this could force asset sales and pinch profit. The Federal Reserve approved the international standard last week.

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