The UK’s eight biggest banks have all devised plans that would allow them to fail “safely” without hurting taxpayers or customers, but should make further enhancements to improve the process, the Bank of England said on Friday.
The exercise marked the first time regulators have given their verdict on the resolvability plans of the UK’s eight biggest banks and building societies, including Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, NatWest, Santander UK, Standard Chartered and Virgin Money UK.
The plans are the final part of a package of measures to make sure that bank failures are more orderly and less destructive than the global financial crisis in 2007. The resolvability element puts the responsibility on banks to ensure they are structured so they can be safely closed if they run into trouble, without leaving taxpayers on the hook.
“Safely resolving a large bank will always be a complex challenge so it’s important that both we and the major banks continue to prioritise work on this issue,” Dave Ramsden, deputy governor for markets and banking at the Bank of England said on Friday.
The central bank said it had found shortfalls in some of the companies’ plans as well as “areas for further enhancement”.
HSBC said that it had been asked to take steps to improve the resolvability of its international infrastructure which spans 64 countries and territories.
“The changes that would be required to this infrastructure to support certain restructuring actions, which may be needed in resolution, would be complex,” the bank said, adding that the work would be done over a “multiyear period”.
Barclays said it had “identified some areas for further refinement, including continued optimisation of processes and use of automation where appropriate, which it will continue to progress”.