#UK RBS and Standard Chartered came close to failing a big stress test


Students take a university entrance examination at a lecture hall in the Andalusian capital of Seville, southern Spain, September 15, 2009. Students in Spain must pass the exam after completing secondary school in order to gain access to university. REUTERS/Marcelo del Pozo (SPAIN EDUCATION SOCIETY)

Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Charted almost failed the Bank of England’s 2015 stress tests.

Despite missing targets, the two banks had just enough emergency capital after being run through a hypothetical economic collapse by the UK’s banking regulator.

The Prudential Regulation Authority, a unit of the Bank of England, said the banks won’t have to ask investors for more money because they have plans to raise more capital are already underway.

Ewen Stevenson, chief financial officer of RBS, said: “We are pleased with the progress we have made relative to the 2014 stress test, but recognise we still have much to do to restore RBS to be a strong and resilient bank for our customers.

Bill Winters, CEO of Standard Chartered, said: “The test was conducted on our balance sheet as at the end of 2014.  Since then we have made further significant progress in strengthening our capital position. We are operating at capital levels above current minimum regulatory requirements and have a number of additional levers at our disposal to further manage capital.”

The other banks that took part – Barclays, HSBC, Santander, Lloyds and Nationwide – all passed the stability test, which examined how secure the banks are in the event of a Chinese economic collapse and global recession.

This is the Bank of England’s second stress test. It’s a tool used by regulators to see where problems could arise in the banking system and which banks are the most vulnerable. Banks that fail can be forced to cut bonuses and dividends while they build up capital cushions that will absorb more losses.

This year, the central bank tested banks on whether they could withstand Chinese economic growth falling to 1.7% from 7%, a collapse in Euro area growth to -2.6% and a massive deflationary spiral that sees prices fall the most in the UK in 80 years.

While all banks came out of the hypothetical collapse with their capital buffers above 4.5% of their assets – which was the minimum pass level – RBS and Standard Chartered had the weakest results with 6.1% and 5.4% respectively.

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