Fed proposing rules for foreign banks’ US units

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve is proposing that large foreign banks keep a bigger cushion against unexpected losses for their US affiliates.

Fed governors, including chairman Ben Bernanke, voted 7 to 0 Friday to propose the rules. They are designed to prevent another financial crisis. Rules were mandated by the 2010 financial overhaul and would apply to foreign banks with $50 billion in worldwide assets that operate in the United States.

Their US affiliates would be subject to the same capital-reserve requirements as US banks. The US operations would have to take the form of a bank holding company, putting them under the Fed’s oversight.


Bernanke said the proposal ‘‘keeps a level playing field between foreign and domestic firms.’’

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The rules wouldn’t take effect until July 2015. The Fed estimates that 107 foreign banks would be affected.

Rules proposed previously for US banks would require them to hold capital worth at least 6 percent of the value of their assets, in line with international standards.

The Fed’s proposal would apply to 23 foreign banks that have both worldwide assets and assets in the United States of at least $50 billion. A less stringent level would apply to 84 foreign banks with $50 billion or more in worldwide assets but less than that in US assets.

The proposal is open to public comment for 90 days.