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Report: EU urged to ease proposed holding company rules for foreign-owned banks

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Report: EU urged to ease proposed holding company rules for foreign-owned banks

Bulgaria, the current president of the Council of the EU, has requested softening proposed regulations that would require large foreign-owned banks to form holding companies for their operations in the bloc, Reuters reported Feb. 22, citing EU documents.

The European Commission is considering requiring certain foreign banks to set up so-called intermediate parent undertakings, pooling each affected lender's operations in the bloc under a single entity, similar to the intermediate holding company regime in force in the U.S.

A draft proposal by the EC suggested enforcing the rule on foreign banks with total assets of at least €30 billion in the EU and on all global systemically important banks, but Bulgaria is seeking to increase the asset threshold to €40 billion and remove the automatic inclusion of G-SIBs.

Bulgaria's proposal would bring the planned EU regulation closer to the U.S.' intermediate holding company regime — which sets a $50 billion asset threshold and does not automatically include G-SIBs — and reduce the number of affected banks that would be subject to the rule, the newswire reported. The EC's draft would have applied to 19 large foreign banks.

The presidency also suggested keeping an eye out for the U.S. Treasury narrowing the scope of its own regulation in the future, Reuters reported.