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British banks told to raise another $38 billion

LONDON — Britain’s new banking regulator recommended Wednesday that the nation’s lenders increase their capital buffers by $37.9 billion by the end of the year to ensure they can cover potential losses and keep lending in the event of future crises.

The Financial Policy Committee said banks need the money as a buffer against potential costs of high-risk loans, including those in the eurozone, and of resolving scandals — such as the misselling of insurance products that has forced British banks to pay billions in compensation to customers. The banks also need greater rainy-day funds in case they have to write down the value of their investments.

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Some banks already have adequate resources and those that don’t should either sell shares or restructure their businesses. The aim is to have capital equal to at least 7 percent of higher-risk assets by the end of this year, the committee said. It did not name any banks, or single out the ones that need more capital.

The committee, which is part of the Bank of England, also recommended applying higher capital requirements to any major British bank or building society with exposure to particularly weak investments.

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