Ending asset rules was considered
Jul 08 2012
Policymakers considered entirely scrapping rules requiring banks to hold billions of pounds on their balance sheets in an attempt to kick-start lending, it was revealed.
The Bank of England's Financial Policy Committee (FPC) considered telling regulators to drop demands for banks to retain easily-saleable assets as the eurozone crisis intensified, according to minutes of its June meeting.
But the 12-strong panel, chaired by Bank Governor Sir Mervyn King, instead agreed to recommend that rules are relaxed to allow lenders to run down their "liquidity buffers" if needed.
The move was announced last Friday alongside the FPC's Financial Stability Report and forms part of the Bank's strategy to help Britain recover from its double-dip recession, following the announcement last month of a £100 billion-plus scheme to boost bank lending.
The latest minutes from the FPC, set up to oversee the country's financial stability in the wake of the credit crunch, come after the Bank injected another £50 billion into its quantitative easing programme in yet another attempt to drag the UK out of recession.
The FPC also agreed that a second objective outlined by the Chancellor - to support growth and employment - was compatible with its wider remit.
Discussing the City regulator's liquidity guidelines, the FPC minutes said: "Members considered whether there was a case for going further by recommending the suspension or easing of the current guidance. Suspension might provide the clearest possible message to banks that they could reduce their liquid asset holdings."
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