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Reforms will cost 10m jobs warn banks

Vienna, June 10, 2010

A string of regulatory reforms across the banking sector could cut 3 percent off global economic growth over the next five years and cost almost 10 million jobs, top banks said on Thursday.

The Institute of International Finance (IIF), a bank lobby group representing over 400 firms, said a need to hold more capital, proposed bank taxes and other possible reforms could hit economic growth hard.   

Gross domestic product (GDP) in the United States, euro zone and Japan would fall by 0.6 percentage point annually between 2011 and 2015 and by an annual average of 0.3 percentage points in the 10 years to 2020, the IIF said in a report released at a meeting in Vienna.   

"The IIF calls on the participants of the forthcoming G20 Summit and the international regulatory authorities to consider carefully the content, timing and calibration of proposed bank regulatory reforms, mindful of the potential drag on economic activity that could result," said Josef Ackermann, CEO of Deutsche Bank and IIF chairman.

The economic impact would be hardest in the euro zone, where GDP growth would be cut by 0.9 percent annually until 2015. US GDP growth would be curtailed by 0.5 percent annually, and in Japan it would be 0.4 percent, the IIF said.

Some 9.7 million fewer jobs could be created due to the reforms over the next five years, the report warned.   

Banks face new taxes and requirements to hold more and better quality capital and liquidity and other reforms to ensure there cannot be a repeat of the recent financial crisis, the worst since the 1930s.   

Banks admit change is needed, but are resisting some proposals and are concerned about the cumulative impact of a range of measures and want more time to implement change.

"The point of this report is not to argue against regulatory reform," said Peter Sands, CEO of Standard Chartered and an IIF director. "But there is a price for making the banking system safer and more stable, and that price will inevitably be borne by the real economy.

"The challenge is to strike the right balance, to get the maximum benefit for the minimum negative impact," Sands said. - Reuters




Tags: Jobs | banks | GDP | IIF |

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