The Bank Of China Is Now "Too Big To Fail"

Bank of China

Photo: AP

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) is preparing to add the Bank of China (BOC) to its list of “systemically important” international banks, reports Caixin Magazine. In short, the bank is now too big to fail.A report from the BCBS did not disclose the name of the country that recommended the BOC be added to this list. But we do know that regulatory officials met with BOC execs in Beijing in July to talk terms. When it joins the group, the bank will be the 28th member, and the first from a developing nation.

BOC is not the largest bank in China, (that’sĀ Industrial and Commercial Bank of China) but it has the markers of what makes an internationally important bank. 30% of its assets are held outside the country, and they plan on expanding. A member bank has to be a sound business as well, so the BCBS considers asset and liability factors as well. For example, since the 2008 crises, assets that can’t be quickly converted into cash are considered liabilities.

It’s worth noting, though, that this decision is based on data from 2009.

So what does being on the list mean? Members get more favourable financing terms, but they also must cooperate on bank supervisory matters and keep capital adequacy ratio levels at around 12.5% (BOC is at about 11.5%).

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