Basel III Breaks Urged by Senators for Community Banks, Insurers

U.S. banking regulators should go easy on community banks and insurers as the agencies finish capital rules for financial institutions, according to leaders of the Senate Banking Committee.

The smallest U.S. banks may find parts of the so-called Basel III rules difficult to implement, and the rules were never meant for insurance companies, said senators Tim Johnson, the South Dakota Democrat who heads the panel, and Mike Crapo, the committee’s senior Republican member from Idaho, in a letter today.

“While it is important to get the new capital standards in place, it is more important to get the rules right,” the lawmakers said in the letter to leaders of the Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. -- the three agencies working on final versions of the rules proposed in June.

OCC chief Thomas Curry said in October that smaller banks may get longer transition periods and so-called grandfather clauses to help ease them into compliance with the rules, which are based on a global framework adopted by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.

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