ECB Said to Ask Biggest Lenders to Review Risk of `Brexit'

The European Central Bank is asking the larger banks it oversees to analyze the risks they would face if the U.K. left the European Union, a person familiar with the situation said.

The ECB is engaging with the lenders individually and is encouraging firms to be prepared for all the potential impact from the vote, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has warned Britain’s potential exit from the EU would hurt the City of London, the capital’s financial center, and worsen risks to financial stability. European lenders including Deutsche Bank AG and ING Groep NV have signaled they may move staff away from Britain in the event the country votes to leave the 28-nation EU in the June 23 referendum.

Banco Santander SA’s U.K. unit has “assessed the potential consequences for our business of the U.K. leaving the EU,” it said in its annual report, “as well as the potential impact of market instability in the lead up to the referendum and in any implementation period following a potential ‘leave’ vote.”

ING Chief Executive Officer Ralph Hamers said last month that the Dutch lender would probably cut London staffing levels if the U.K. withdrew. ING, the Netherlands’ largest lender, has about 650 employees in the capital.

Handelsblatt earlier reported the ECB’s review on Brexit.

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