EU Weighs Spurring Corporate Lending With Covered Bonds

The European Union is weighing steps to stimulate the market for covered bonds and securitized debt to boost investment in businesses, which has been choked by the bloc’s sovereign-debt crisis.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s financial services chief, will publish draft plans today to boost long-term investment, the agency said in a statement on its website.

“Europe is confronted by a range of constraints that affect its long-term financing capacity,” the European Commission said. The draft plans will cover “prudential rules, corporate governance, and financial markets.”

The commission will seek input on how to spur the market for “high quality” securitizations, according to a draft of the plans obtained by Bloomberg News. The EU also wants input on establishing common rules for covered bonds across the EU, with the goal that such financing will fill the gap left by diminished government and bank lending.

Barnier has pledged to bolster lending for businesses and research projects as austerity takes its toll across the 27-nation EU. The European Central Bank estimates that bank lending to non-financial companies fell by 2.1 percent between September 2011 and June 2012.