The Obama administration wants European countries to put their banks through more rigorous public stress tests to ensure that the institutions survive if the economy deteriorates further, the Wall Street Journal reported on its website.
US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is likely to discuss the issue in Italy later this week during closed-door meetings with finance ministers from the Group of Eight leading nations, according to the paper.
Geithner may face resistance from some of his European counterparts, who believe that publicizing the weaknesses of individual banks increases the risk that they will fail, the paper said.
France expects Geithner to press the stress-test issue at the finance ministers meeting in Lecce, Italy, even if the topic is not formally on the agenda, the paper said, citing a French finance-ministry official.
“We continually exchange views with other countries about what worked in our own country and what has not and why,” Treasury spokesman Andrew Williams told the paper.
The Treasury did not immediately respond to a Reuters email seeking comment that was sent outside normal business hours.
After the US bank stress tests regulators ordered 10 of the top 19 US banks to raise nearly $75 billion in new capital, far less than feared. Since then, the tested banks as a group have executed or announced share sales totaling about $65 billion.
The bank stress tests should be repeated if the US unemployment rate rises beyond levels assumed by regulators in a recent round of examinations that provided relief to markets, according to a report released by a bailout watchdog panel on Tuesday. (Reuters)