IMF to introduce banking stress tests

20 January 2011

The International Monetary Foundation (IMF) is to implement a new round of stress tests to assess the stability of the largest banks in the UK.

According to Reuters, which cited an unnamed source familiar with the matter, the tests are to begin on institutions located in the UK first before being applied to other states within the European Union.

An IMF spokesman told Reuters: “The timing of each assessment is typically determined at the request of the country authorities. The UK, Sweden, and Luxembourg authorities had requested these assessments several months ago, as had Germany and the Netherlands.”

The IMF tests are separate to those being undertaken by the European Union (EU) and are expected to be completed within the first quarter of 2010.

HSBC, Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group are all believed to be partaking in this round of analysis.

Bank stress tests are currently the subject of debate by the finance ministers from the various states within the EU.

Didier Reynders, Belgium’s finance minister, said that countries in the US should implement more stringent tests on the financial health of UK banks.

“We need to organize the same kind of stress tests on both sides of the Atlantic Sea because if we don't have the same kind of stress tests as the US and in Europe, we will have many criticisms of them.”

By Jim Ottewill

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