Fed unanimously adopts bank liquidity proposal

The U.S. Federal Reserve unveiled a plan on Thursday that requires banks to hold enough assets they can easily sell to survive a credit crunch, a proposal it said was tougher than that demanded by international regulators.

The plan, which will tell banks to hold enough liquid assets to meet their cash needs for 30 days, is a key plank of the Basel III capital rules agreed globally to make banks safer after the 2007-09 credit crisis.

But Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo said the U.S. plan had a tougher transition timeline, and a stricter definition of what counts as the high-quality liquid assets the central bank will require the lenders to stock up on.

“Since financial crises usually begin with a liquidity squeeze that further weakens the capital position of vulnerable firms, it is essential that we adopt liquidity regulations,” Tarullo said in a speech.

Fed staff estimate a rough shortfall of about $200 billion in liquid assets across all institutions as a result of the rule, a gap the banks would have until 2017 to address.

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