ECB Moves to Quash Bank Assessment Rumors as Results Near

The European Central Bank said media reports about lenders passing or failing its Asset-Quality Review and stress test before the release of results on Oct. 26 are “highly speculative.”

“No final results have been sent to banks involved,” the ECB said in an e-mailed statement today, after separate articles named 11 banks failing the review and one borderline case that passed. “The results will not be final until they are considered by the Governing Council of the ECB on Sunday, Oct. 26, after which they will be published.”

Lenders are set to receive preliminary results at noon tomorrow, and will be asked to consent to their publication. The Frankfurt-based ECB is conducting the unprecedented two-stage audit of the financial system’s robustness before it takes over bank supervision for the euro area in November.

Spain’s Efe news service reported today that 11 banks, from Greece to Belgium, were set to fail the test. A spokesman for Austria’s Erste Bank, named in the report, denied they had any indications that the lender had failed. The stock fell as much as 2.3 percent today in Vienna.

HSH Nordbank, a German regional lender previously in regulators’ sights for its exposure to the shipping industry, was said to have passed the review, according to a report by Reuters. The lender declined to comment on the report.

ECB staff are finalizing almost 39,000 points of data on the euro area’s 130 biggest banks before the results are published on Sunday.

Banks will be required to show that their ratio of capital to risk-weighted assets can remain above 8 percent under current circumstances, and above 5.5 percent over three years after a hypothetical recession and bond-market collapse.

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