On August 3, 2016, the European Banking Authority (EBA) published a report on the leverage ratio (LR) requirements under the Capital Requirements Regulation (CRR).

The EBA report recommends the introduction of a minimum LR requirement in the EU to mitigate the risk of excessive leverage, which is in line with the discussions held by the Group of Central Bank Governors and Heads of Supervision (GHOS) – the governing body of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) – in January 2016.

The analysis suggests that the potential impact of introducing a LR requirement of 3 percent on the provision of financing by credit institutions would be relatively moderate, while, overall, it should lead to more stable credit institutions. Similarly, on the basis of econometric analysis, it has been estimated that risk taking should not be strongly affected. The EBA considers that the introduction of a 3 percent LR should lead to more stable credit institutions overall and the combined application of a risk-based ratio and a LR requirement will reduce the overall cyclicality of capital requirements.

The EBA also assessed the exposure of different categories of credit institutions to the risk of excessive leverage (REL) concluding that the results do not give a strong indication of differences in the degree of exposure to REL across different types of credit institutions. However, global systemically important institutions (GSIIs) show a higher exposure to REL and therefore a higher LR requirement may be warranted.

The report also flags that while the Basel LR standard fits well with the EU banking sector, the same cannot be said for all business models covered by other EU prudential regulations. For example, the EBA recommends that central counterparties (CCPs) and central securities depositaries (CSDs) be exempted. The report describes the characteristics of various specialized business models, such as public development banks, concluding that there is little room for differentiating the LR without opening the door to cases of circumvention of the basic principles of the LR. The report did not find evidence to exempt certain credit institutions from being subject to compliance with the LR minimum requirement of 3 percent on the basis of their limited size. However, the EBA will explore in more detail a reduced frequency and granularity of reporting requirements in the case of smaller credit institutions in future updates of the implementing technical standards (ITS) on LR reporting.

The Commission is required to submit a report on the impact and effectiveness of the LR, and potential legislative proposals, to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU by December 31, 2016.