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ECB Says 25 European Banks Fail Stress Test

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At the end of last year, one in five of the eurozone’s top lenders failed landmark health checks.

But according to the European Central Bank (ECB), most have since repaired their finances.

The ECB’s Vice President, Vitor Constancio, told a news conference in Frankfurt:

“A total of $25-billion capital shortfalls were identified across 25 participating banks, as a joint result of the AQR and the stress test. The AQR itself resulted in a gross impact on assets values in needs of adjustments by $48 billion, $37 billion of which did not generate a capital shortfall. So if you add up the $37 with the $25 capital shortfall, you get the overall impact on the banks of $62 billion coming from the comprehensive assessment.”

Crawling Out of a Financial Hole

The most critical problems were in Italy, Cyprus, and Greece… But fortunately, the ECB concluded that the banks’ capital holes had since been plugged… And at this point, only 10 billion euros needed to be raised.

Ultimately, Italy’s financial sector faced the hardest challenge: Nine of its banks fall short – with Monte dei Paschi dealing with a 2.01-billion-euro hole (even after money-raising efforts this year).

Even seven years after the financial crisis (which almost bankrupted a handful of EU countries), this exercise gives a very distinct picture of the current health of the eurozone’s banks.

It’s still uncertain whether banks will lend more as the region’s economic growth stutters to a virtual halt.

In contrast to the end of last year, the financial hole was minimized by 15 billion euros, due to repairs made in 2014.

Overall, this is Europe’s fourth (and most rigorous) attempt to clean up its financial sector. The previous attempts failed to spot problems, giving clean bills of health prematurely.

In pursuit of the truth,

Politics Research Team