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Banks Warn They’re Not Ready for ECB’s Historic Climate Test

  • Industry is lobbying for secrecy around the ECB’s assessment
  • Financial regulators are losing patience with ESG laggards
Flood damage in Rech, Germany, on July 21. The ECB is concerned lenders appear unprepared as extreme weather becomes more frequent.

Flood damage in Rech, Germany, on July 21. The ECB is concerned lenders appear unprepared as extreme weather becomes more frequent.

Photographer: Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images 

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A milestone moment for European regulators risks ending as a flop as banks warn they won’t have the client data they need in time for climate stress tests next year, according to a survey of the industry conducted by Bloomberg.

The European Central Bank has already voiced concern that lenders appear unprepared for the upheaval that’s ahead as extreme weather becomes more frequent and carbon emissions grow increasingly costly. Behind the scenes, the ECB is ratcheting up pressure on the finance industry to adjust, according to people familiar with the process. The stakes are high, and banks that fall behind risk more onerous capital requirements, leaving less for shareholders.