Document Type


Publication Date

September 2011






The last few months have seen a dramatic fall in the value of bank stocks both in Europe and the U.S., bringingback unpleasant memories of the depths of the financial crisis in 2008. Concerns about the sovereign debt crisisin Europe, continuing litigation relating to the American subprime mortgage crisis, and the generally poor stateof the world economy have increasingly put banks under pressure. However, some commentators have pointedout the “silver lining” in all of this: the big American and European banks are better capitalized than they wereduring the financial crisis, and therefore are better able to absorb these shocks and less likely to fail. 1 Part ofthe reason that banks have increased their capital cushions is in anticipation of the new regulatory capitalrequirements that are being phased in by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (the “BCBS”) as part ofBasel III.