(Bloomberg) -- Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan said that higher capital requirements will impact lending, following reports that large US banks may have to boost their capital by an average of 20%.
“It’s fairly straight forward,” Moynihan said at the Bloomberg Invest conference on Wednesday. “If our capital ratios go up by 100 basis points, simply put, you can’t make about $150 billion of loans.”
Bank of America and its rivals are expecting the updated capital requirements amid an international overhaul of capital rules that started more than a decade ago in response to the 2008 financial crisis. While large banks may be required to increase their capital by 20% on average, the actual hike will vary based on the range of banks affected.
Everytime that the requirements go up, there will be a “countervailing effect” where it impacts lending, Moynihan said.
Banks with at least $100 billion in assets may also have to adhere to the new requirements. That’s far lower than the existing $250 billion threshold where many of the toughest rules kick in, meaning dozens of regional US banks might have to meet the new standard.
“People say, well, if you have more capital you can make more loans, but if we took risk on that capital, we wouldn’t have that capital ratio — so it has to be a riskless build of capital,” Moynihan said. “The only thing you can really do is leave it in cash or buy Treasury securities and that’s not a very productive use of money.”
Read more: US Banks Face Capital Jump With More Lenders Roped In to Comply
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Financial Officer Jeremy Barnum said late last month that the firm was expecting the proposals on implementing new standards “any day now” and anticipated increased capital requirements for trading businesses and so-called operational risk. He said that while the firm would push back on calls for more capital, it was preparing for its requirements to rise.
Chief Executive Officer Jane Fraser said last week that her bank was holding off on anything beyond modest buybacks until it had more clarity on the changes and the Federal Reserve’s separate “holistic” review of capital requirements.
The biggest banks have argued that their steadiness in the recent turmoil at regional banks showed their strength and that they already have more than enough capital. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has been among the more vocal critics of the new requirements, arguing they could constrain banks from lending elsewhere. He called the upcoming increase “bad for America” last year ahead of a pair of congressional hearings.
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