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EBA announces 2016 banking transparency test

The European Banking Authority (EBA) will run a transparency exercise on 100 banks in December, in addition to its planned EU-wide stress test. 07 Jul 2016

The transparency exercise will collect information on banks' balance sheets based on supervisory reporting data, the EBA said.

"Transparency exercises are an annual feature of the EBA's work but this year's exercise will be independent from, whilst complementary to, the 2016 EU-wide stress test. This will ensure appropriate coverage of banks across all countries in the EU," it said.

The EBA will collect information on banks' capital, risk-weighted assets, profits and losses, market risk, securitisations, credit risk, and exposures for December 2015 and June 2016, it said.

The exercise will have to take into account developments around the UK's vote to leave the EU, said banking law expert Tony Anderson of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com.

"The results of the transparency test will obviously be impacted by market reaction to Brexit as well as the Bank of England’s recent relaxation on the countercyclical buffers previously applied to UK banks," Anderson said.

The Bank of England has removed the requirement for banks to hold additional capital in reserve until at least June 2017, saying that this will increase their ability to lend to businesses and individuals. The money will be released from large banks' countercyclical capital buffers, which were introduced in April at a rate of 0.5% of bank assets when weighted for risk.

Banks will not have to do any additional reporting as the authority will take the information that it needs from supervisory reporting data, the EBA said.

The exercise will begin in September and the results published in early December, the EBA said.

The EBA released the methodology it will use to assess solvency and the scenario to be used in the stress test in February.  

Stress tests are designed to measure banks' financial resistance to adverse conditions. In the latest round of checks, 53 banks will be assessed, 39 of which fall under the jurisdiction of the Single Supervisory Mechanism.

Unlike in previous years there will be no pass or fail to the test. Instead, the competent authority will discuss the results with each individual bank.

The EBA did not run a stress test in 2015, but did run a transparency exercise.