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Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government

FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

12 CFR Parts 324, 325, and 362

[Docket No. R-1442]

RIN 3064-AD95

Regulatory Capital Rules: Regulatory Capital, Implementation of Basel III, Minimum Regulatory Capital Ratios, Capital Adequacy, Transition Provisions, and Prompt Corrective Action

AGENCY: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Treasury; the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
ACTION: Joint notice of proposed rulemaking.
SUMMARY: The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board), and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) (collectively, the agencies) are seeking comment on three Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPR) that would revise and replace the agencies' current capital rules. In this NPR, the agencies are proposing to revise their risk-based and leverage capital requirements consistent with agreements reached by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) in "Basel III: A Global Regulatory Framework for More Resilient Banks and Banking Systems" (Basel III). The proposed revisions would include implementation of a new common equity tier 1 minimum capital requirement, a higher minimum tier 1 capital requirement, and, for banking organizations subject to the advanced approaches capital rules, a supplementary leverage ratio that incorporates a broader set of exposures in the denominator measure. Additionally, consistent with Basel III, the agencies are proposing to apply limits on a banking organization's capital distributions and certain discretionary bonus payments if the banking organization does not hold a specified amount of common equity tier 1 capital in addition to the amount necessary to meet its minimum risk-based capital requirements. This NPR also would establish more conservative standards for including an instrument in regulatory capital. As discussed in the proposal, the revisions set forth in this NPR are consistent with section 171 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act), which requires the agencies to establish minimum risk-based and leverage capital requirements.

In connection with the proposed changes to the agencies' capital rules in this NPR, the agencies are also seeking comment on the two related NPRs published elsewhere in today'sFederal Register. The two related NPRs are discussed further in theSUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

DATES: Comments must be submitted on or before October 22, 2012.
ADDRESSES: OCC:Because paper mail in the Washington, DC area and at the OCC is subject to delay, commenters are encouraged to submit comments by the Federal eRulemaking Portal or email, if possible. Please use the title "Regulatory Capital Rules: Regulatory Capital, Implementation of Basel III, Minimum Regulatory Capital Ratios, Capital Adequacy, Transition Provisions, and Prompt Corrective Action" to facilitate the organization and distribution of the comments. You may submit comments by any of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal--"regulations.gov": Go tohttp://www.regulations.gov. Click "Advanced Search". Select "Document Type" of "Proposed Rule", and in "By Keyword or ID" box, enter Docket ID "OCC-2012-0008," and click "Search". If proposed rules for more than one agency are listed, in the "Agency" column, locate the notice of proposed rulemaking for the OCC. Comments can be filtered by agency using the filtering tools on the left side of the screen. In the "Actions" column, click on "Submit a Comment" or "Open Docket Folder" to submit or view public comments and to view supporting and related materials for this rulemaking action.

* Click on the "Help" tab on the Regulations.gov home page to get information on using Regulations.gov, including instructions for submitting or viewing public comments, viewing other supporting and related materials, and viewing the docket after the close of the comment period.

*Email: regs.comments@occ.treas.gov.

*Mail:Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, 250 E Street SW., Mail Stop 2-3, Washington, DC 20219.

*Fax:(202) 874-5274.

*Hand Delivery/Courier:250 E Street SW., Mail Stop 2-3, Washington, DC 20219.

Instructions:You must include "OCC" as the agency name and "Docket ID OCC-2012-0008" in your comment. In general, the OCC will enter all comments received into the docket and publish them on Regulations.gov without change, including any business or personal information that you provide such as name and address information, email addresses, or phone numbers. Comments received, including attachments and other supporting materials, are part of the public record and subject to public disclosure. Do not enclose any information in your comment or supporting materials that you consider confidential or inappropriate for public disclosure.

You may review comments and other related materials that pertain to this notice by any of the following methods:

*Viewing Comments Electronically:Go tohttp://www.regulations.gov. Click "Advanced Search". Select "Document Type" of "Public Submission" and in "By Keyword or ID" box enter Docket ID "OCC-2012-0008," and click "Search." If comments from more than one agency are listed, the "Agency" column will indicate which comments were received by the OCC. Comments can be filtered by Agency using the filtering tools on the left side of the screen.

*Viewing Comments Personally:You may personally inspect and photocopy comments at the OCC, 250 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20219. For security reasons, the OCC requires that visitors make an appointment to inspect comments. You may do so by calling (202) 874-4700. Upon arrival, visitors will be required to present valid government-issued photo identification and to submit to security screening in order to inspect and photocopy comments.

*Docket:You may also view or request available background documents and project summaries using the methods described previously.

Board:When submitting comments, please consider submitting your comments by email or fax because paper mail in the Washington, DC, area and at the Board may be subject to delay. You may submit comments, identified by Docket No. R-1430; RIN No. 7100-AD87, by any of the following methods:

*Agency Web Site: http://www.federalreserve.gov.Follow the instructions forsubmitting comments athttp://www.federalreserve.gov/generalinfo/foia/ProposedRegs.cfm.

*Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

*Email: regs.comments@federalreserve.gov.Include docket number in the subject line of the message.

*Fax:(202) 452-3819 or (202) 452-3102.

*Mail:Jennifer J. Johnson, Secretary, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20551.

All public comments are available from the Board's Web site athttp://www.federalreserve.gov/generalinfo/foia/ProposedRegs.cfmas submitted, unless modified for technical reasons. Accordingly, your comments will not be edited to remove any identifying or contact information. Public comments may also be viewed electronically or in paper form in Room MP-500 of the Board's Martin Building (20th and C Street NW., Washington, DC 20551) between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays.

FDIC:You may submit comments by any of the followingmethods:

*Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

*Agency Web site: http://www.FDIC.gov/regulations/laws/federal/propose.html.

*Mail:Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary, Attention: Comments/Legal ESS, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 550 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20429.

*Hand Delivered/Courier:The guard station at the rear of the 550 17th Street building (located on F Street), on business days between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

*Email: comments@FDIC.gov.

*Instructions:Comments submitted must include "FDIC" and "RIN 3064-AD95." Comments received will be posted without change tohttp://www.FDIC.gov/regulations/laws/federal/propose.html, including any personal information provided.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Board:Anna Lee Hewko, Assistant Director, (202) 530-6260, Thomas Boemio, Manager, (202) 452-2982, Constance M. Horsley, Manager, (202) 452-5239, or Juan C. Climent, Senior Supervisory Financial Analyst, (202) 872-7526, Capital and Regulatory Policy, Division of Banking Supervision and Regulation; or Benjamin McDonough, Senior Counsel, (202) 452-2036, April C. Snyder, Senior Counsel, (202) 452-3099, or Christine Graham, Senior Attorney, (202) 452-3005, Legal Division, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 20th and C Streets NW., Washington, DC 20551. For the hearing impaired only, Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD), (202) 263-4869.

FDIC:Bobby R. Bean, Associate Director,bbean@fdic.gov; Ryan Billingsley, Senior Policy Analyst,rbillingsley@fdic.gov; Karl Reitz, Senior Policy Analyst,kreitz@fdic.gov, Division of Risk Management Supervision; David Riley, Senior Policy Analyst,dariley@fdic.gov, Division of Risk Management Supervision, Capital Markets Branch, (202) 898-6888; or Mark Handzlik, Counsel,mhandzlik@fdic.gov, Michael Phillips, Counsel,mphillips@fdic.gov, Greg Feder, Counsel,gfeder@fdic.gov, or Ryan Clougherty, Senior Attorney,rclougherty@fdic.gov; Supervision Branch, Legal Division, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 550 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20429. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

In connection with the proposed changes to the agencies' capital rules in this NPR, the agencies are also seeking comment on the two related NPRs published elsewhere in today'sFederal Register. In the notice titled “Regulatory Capital Rules: Standardized Approach for Risk-Weighted Assets; Market Discipline and Disclosure Requirements” (Standardized Approach NPR), the agencies are proposing to revise and harmonize their rules for calculating risk-weighted assets to enhance risk sensitivity and address weaknesses identified over recent years, including by incorporating aspects of the BCBS's Basel II standardized framework in the “International Convergence of Capital Measurement and Capital Standards: A Revised Framework,” including subsequent amendments to that standard, and recent BCBS consultative papers. The Standardized Approach NPR also includes alternatives to credit ratings, consistent with section 939A of the Dodd-Frank Act. The revisions include methodologies for determining risk-weighted assets for residential mortgages, securitization exposures, and counterparty credit risk. The Standardized Approach NPR also would introduce disclosure requirements that would apply to top-tier banking organizations domiciled in the United States with $50 billion or more in total assets, including disclosures related to regulatory capital instruments.

The proposals in this NPR and the Standardized Approach NPR would apply to all banking organizations that are currently subject to minimum capital requirements (including national banks, state member banks, state nonmember banks, state and federal savings associations, and top-tier bank holding companies domiciled in the United States not subject to the Board's Small Bank Holding Company Policy Statement (12 CFR part 225, appendix C)), as well as top-tier savings and loan holding companies domiciled in the United States (together, banking organizations).

In the notice titled “Regulatory Capital Rules: Advanced Approaches Risk-Based Capital Rule; Market Risk Capital Rule,” (Advanced Approaches and Market Risk NPR) the agencies are proposing to revise the advanced approaches risk-based capital rules consistent with Basel III and other changes to the BCBS's capital standards. The agencies also propose to revise the advanced approaches risk-based capital rules to be consistent with section 939A and section 171 of the Dodd-Frank Act. Additionally, in the Advanced Approaches and Market Risk NPR, the OCC and FDIC are proposing that the market risk capital rules be applicable to federal and state savings associations and the Board is proposing that the advanced approaches and market risk capital rules apply to top-tier savings and loan holding companies domiciled in the United States, in each case, if stated thresholds for trading activity are met.

As described in this NPR, the agencies also propose to codify their regulatory capital rules, which currently reside in various appendixes to their respective regulations. The proposals are published in three separate NPRs to reflect the distinct objectives of each proposal, to allow interested parties to better understand the various aspects of the overall capital framework, including which aspects of the rules would apply to which banking organizations, and to help interested parties better focus their comments on areas of particular interest.

Table of Contents1

1Sections marked with an asterisk generally would not apply to less-complex banking organizations.

I. Introduction A. Overview of the Proposed Changes to the Agencies' Current Capital Framework.A summary of the proposed changes to the agencies' current capital framework through three concurrent notices of proposed rulemaking, including comparison of key provisions of the proposals to the agencies' general risk-based and leverage capital rules. B. Background. A brief review of the evolution of the agencies' capital rules and the Basel capital framework, including an overview of the rationale for certain revisions in the Basel capital framework. II. Minimum Capital Requirements, Regulatory Capital Buffer, and Requirements for Overall Capital Adequacy A. Minimum Capital Requirements and Regulatory Capital Buffer. A short description of the minimum capital ratios and their incorporation in the agencies' Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework; introduction of a regulatory capital buffer. B. Leverage Ratio 1. Minimum Tier 1 Leverage Ratio. A description of the minimum tier 1 leverage ratio, including the calculation of the numerator and the denominator. 2. Supplementary Leverage Ratio for Advanced Approaches Banking Organizations.* A description of the new supplementary leverage ratio for advanced approaches banking organizations, including the calculation of the total leverage exposure. C. Capital Conservation Buffer. A description of the capital conservation buffer, which is designed to limit capital distributions and certain discretionary bonus payments if a banking organization does not hold a certain amount of common equity tier 1 capital in additional to the minimum risk-based capital ratios. D. Countercyclical Capital Buffer.* A description of the countercyclical buffer applicable to advanced approaches banking organizations, which would serve as an extension of the capital conservation buffer. E. Prompt Corrective Action Requirements. A description of the proposed revisions to the agencies' prompt corrective action requirements, including incorporation of a common equity tier 1 capital ratio, an updated definition of tangible common equity, and, for advanced approaches banking organizations only, a supplementary leverage ratio. F. Supervisory Assessment of Overall Capital Adequacy. A brief overview of the capital adequacy requirements and supervisory assessment of a banking organization's capital adequacy. G. Tangible Capital Requirement for Federal Savings Associations. A discussion of a statutory capital requirement unique to federal savings associations. III. Definition of Capital A. Capital Components and Eligibility Criteria for Regulatory Capital Instruments 1. Common Equity Tier 1 Capital. A description of the common equity tier 1 capital elements and a description of the eligibility criteria for common equity tier 1 capital instruments. 2. Additional Tier 1 Capital. A description of the additional tier 1 capital elements and a description of the eligibility criteria for additional tier 1 capital instruments. 3. Tier 2 Capital. A description of the tier 2 capital elements and a description of the eligibility criteria for tier 2 capital instruments. 4. Capital Instruments of Mutual Banking Organizations. A discussion of potential issues related to capital instruments specific to mutual banking organizations. 5. Grandfathering of Certain Capital Instruments. A discussion of the recognition within regulatory capital of instruments specifically related to certain U.S. government programs. 6. Agency Approval of Capital Elements. A description of the approval process for new capital instruments. 7. Addressing the Point of Non-viability Requirements under Basel III.* A discussion of disclosure requirements for advanced approaches banking organizations for regulatory capital instruments addressing the point of non-viability requirements in Basel III. 8. Qualifying Capital Instruments Issued by Consolidated Subsidiaries of a Banking Organization. A description of limits on the inclusion of minority interest in regulatory capital, including a discussion of Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) preferred securities. B. Regulatory Adjustments and Deductions 1. Regulatory Deductions from Common Equity Tier 1 Capital. A discussion of the treatment of goodwill and certain other intangible assets and certain deferred tax assets. 2. Regulatory Adjustments to Common Equity Tier 1 Capital. A discussion of the adjustments to common equity tier 1 for certain cash flow hedges and changes in a banking organization's own creditworthiness. 3. Regulatory Deductions Related to Investments in Capital Instruments. A discussion of the treatment for capital investments in other financial institutions. 4. Items subject to the 10 and 15 Percent Common Equity Tier 1 Capital Threshold Deductions. A discussion of the treatment of mortgage servicing assets, certain capital investments in other financial institutions and certain deferred tax assets. 5. Netting of Deferred Tax Liabilities against Deferred Tax Assets and Other Deductible Assets. A discussion of a banking organization's option to net deferred tax liabilities against deferred tax assets if certain conditions are met under the proposal. 6. Deduction from Tier 1 Capital of Investments in Hedge Funds and Private Equity Funds Pursuant to section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Act.* A description of the deduction from tier 1 capital for investments in hedge funds and private equity funds pursuant to section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Act. IV. Denominator Changes. A description of the changes to the calculation of risk-weighted asset amounts related to the Basel III regulatory capital requirements. V. Transition Provisions A. Minimum Regulatory Capital Ratios.A description of the transition provisions for minimum regulatory capital ratios. B. Capital Conservation and Countercyclical Capital Buffer. A description of the transition provisions for the capital conservation buffer, and for advanced approaches banking organizations, the countercyclical capital buffer. C. Regulatory Capital Adjustments and Deductions. A description of the transition provisions for regulatory capital adjustments and deductions. D. Non-qualifying Capital Instruments. A description of the transition provisions for non-qualifying capital instruments. E. Leverage Ratio.* A description of the transition provisions for the new supplementary leverage ratio for advanced approaches banking organizations. VI. Additional OCC Technical Amendments. A description of additional technical and conforming amendments to the OCC's current capital framework in 12 CFR part 3. VII. Abbreviations VIII. Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis IX. Paperwork Reduction Act X. Plain Language XI. OCC Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 Determination Addendum 1: Summary of This NPR for Community Banking Organizations I. Introduction A. Overview of the Proposed Changes to the Agencies' Current Capital Framework

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board), and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) (collectively, the agencies) are proposing comprehensive revisions to their regulatory capital framework through three concurrent notices of proposed rulemaking (NPR). These proposals would revise the agencies' current general risk-based rules, advanced approaches risk-based capital rules (advanced approaches), and leverage capital rules (collectively, the current capital rules).2 The proposedrevisions incorporate changes made by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) to the Basel capital framework, including those in “Basel III: A Global Regulatory Framework for More Resilient Banks and Banking Systems” (Basel III).3 The proposed revisions also would implement relevant provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act and restructure the agencies' capital rules into a harmonized, codified regulatory capital framework.4

2The agencies' general risk-based capital rules are at 12 CFR part 3, appendix A, 12 CFR part 167 (OCC); 12 CFR parts 208 and 225, appendix A (Board); and 12 CFR part 325, appendix A, and 12 CFR part 390, subpart Z (FDIC). The agencies'current leverage rules are at 12 CFR 3.6(b), 3.6(c), and 167.6 (OCC); 12 CFR part 208, appendix B, and 12 CFR part 225, appendix D (Board); and 12 CFR 325.3, and 390.467 (FDIC) (general risk-based capital rules). For banks and bank holding companies with significant trading activity, the general risk-based capital rules are supplemented by the agencies' market risk rules, which appear at 12 CFR part 3, appendix B (OCC); 12 CFR part 208, appendix E, and 12 CFR part 225, appendix E (Board); and 12 CFR part 325, appendix C (FDIC) (market risk rules).

The agencies' advanced approaches rules are at 12 CFR part 3, appendix C, 12 CFR part 167, appendix C, (OCC); 12 CFR part 208, appendix F, and 12 CFR part 225, appendix G (Board); 12 CFR part 325, appendix D, and 12 CFR part 390, subpart Z, Appendix A (FDIC) (advanced approaches rules). The advanced approaches rules are generally mandatory for banking organizations and their subsidiaries that have $250 billion or more in total consolidated assets or that have consolidated total on-balance sheet foreign exposure at the most recent year-end equal to $10 billion or more. Other banking organizations may use the advanced approaches rules with the approval of their primary federal supervisor. See 12 CFR part 3, appendix C, section 1(b) (national banks); 12 CFR part 167, appendix C (federal savings associations); 12 CFR part 208, appendix F, section 1(b) (state member banks); 12 CFR part 225, appendix G, section 1(b) (bank holding companies); 12 CFR part 325, appendix D, section 1(b) (state nonmember banks); and 12 CFR part 390, subpart Z, appendix A, section 1(b) (state savings associations).

The market risk capital rules apply to a banking organization if its total trading assets and liabilities is 10 percent or more of total assets or exceeds $1 billion.See12 CFR part 3, appendix B, section 1(b) (national banks); 12 CFR parts 208 and 225, appendix E, section 1(b) (state member banks and bank holding companies, respectively); and 12 CFR part 325, appendix C, section 1(b) (state nonmember banks).

3The BCBS is a committee of banking supervisory authorities, which was established by the central bank governors of the G-10 countries in 1975. It currently consists of senior representatives of bank supervisory authorities and central banks from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Documents issued by the BCBS are available through the Bank for International Settlements Web site athttp://www.bis.org.

4Public Law 111-203, 124 Stat. 1376, 1435-38 (2010) (Dodd-Frank Act).

This notice (Basel III NPR) proposes the Basel III revisions to international capital standards related to minimum requirements, regulatory capital, and additional capital “buffers” to enhance the resiliency of banking organizations, particularly during periods of financial stress. It also proposes transition periods for many of the proposed requirements, consistent with Basel III and the Dodd-Frank Act. A second NPR (Standardized Approach NPR) would revise the methodologies for calculating risk-weighted assets in the general risk-based capital rules, incorporating aspects of the Basel II Standardized Approach and other changes.5 The Standardized Approach NPR also proposes alternative standards of creditworthiness (to credit ratings) consistent with section 939A of the Dodd-Frank Act.6 A third NPR (Advanced Approaches and Market Risk NPR) proposes changes to the advanced approaches rules to incorporate applicable provisions of Basel III and other agreements reached by the BCBS since 2009, proposes to apply the market risk capital rule (market risk rule) to savings associations and savings and loan holding companies and to apply the advanced approaches rule to savings and loan holding companies, and also removes references to credit ratings.

5 SeeBCBS, “International Convergence of Capital Measurement and Capital Standards: A Revised Framework,” (June 2006), available athttp://www.bis.org/publ/bcbs128.htm (Basel II).

6 Seesection 939A of the Dodd-Frank Act (15 U.S.C. 78o-7 note).

Other than bank holding companies subject to the Board's Small Bank Holding Company Policy Statement7 (small bank holding companies), the proposals in the Basel III NPR and the Standardized Approach NPR would apply to all banking organizations currently subject to minimum capital requirements, including national banks, state member banks, state nonmember banks, state and federal savings associations, top-tier bank holding companies domiciled in the United States that are not small bank holding companies, as well as top-tier savings and loan holding companies domiciled in the United States (together, banking organizations).8 Certain aspects of these proposals would apply only to advanced approaches banking organizations or banking organizations with total consolidated assets of more than $50 billion. Consistent with the Dodd-Frank Act, a bank holding company subsidiary of a foreign banking organization that is currently relying on the Board's Supervision and Regulation Letter (SR) 01-1 would not be required to comply with the proposed capital requirements under any of these NPRs until July 21, 2015.9 In addition, the Board is proposing for all three NPRs to apply on a consolidated basis to top-tier savings and loan holding companies domiciled in the United States, subject to the applicable thresholds of the advanced approaches rules and the market risk rules.

712 CFR part 225, appendix C (Small Bank Holding Company Policy Statement).

8Small bank holding companies would continue to be subject to the Small Bank Holding Company Policy Statement. Application of the proposals to all savings and loan holding companies (including small savings and loan holding companies) is consistent with the transfer of supervisory responsibilities to the Board and the requirements of section 171 of the Dodd-Frank Act. Section 171 of the Dodd-Frank Act by its terms does not apply to small bank holding companies, but there is no exemption from the requirements of section 171 for small savings and loan holding companies.See12 U.S.C. 5371.

9 Seesection 171(b)(4)(E) of the Dodd-Frank Act (12 U.S.C. 5371(b)(4)(E));see alsoSR letter 01-1 (January 5, 2001), available athttp://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/srletters/2001/sr0101.htm.

The agencies are publishing all the proposed changes to the agencies' current capital rules at the same time in these three NPRs so that banking organizations can read the three NPRs together and assess the potential cumulative impact of the proposals on their operations and plan appropriately. The overall proposal is being divided into three separate NPRs to reflect the distinct objectives of each proposal and to allow interested parties to better understand the various aspects of the overall capital framework, including which aspects of the rules will apply to which banking organizations, and to help interested parties better focus their comments on areas of particular interest. The agencies believe that separating the proposals into three NPRs makes it easier for banking organizations of all sizes to more easily understand which proposed changes are related to the agencies' objective to improve the quality and increase the quantity of capital (Basel III NPR) and which are related to the agencies' objective to enhance the overall risk-sensitivity of the calculation of a banking organization's total risk-weighted assets (Standardized Approach NPR).

The agencies believe that the proposals would result in capital requirements that better reflect banking organizations' risk profiles and enhance their ability to continue functioning as financial intermediaries, including during periods of financial stress, thereby improving the overall resiliency of the banking system. The agencies have carefully considered the potential impact of the three NPRs on all banking organizations, including community banking organizations, and sought to minimize the potential burden of these changes where consistent with applicable law and the agencies' goals ofestablishing a robust and comprehensive capital framework.

In developing each of the three NPRs, wherever possible and appropriate, the agencies have tailored the proposed requirements to the size and complexity of a banking organization. The agencies believe that most banking organizations already hold sufficient capital to meet the proposed requirements, but recognize that the proposals entail significant changes with respect to certain aspects of the agencies' capital requirements. The agencies are proposing transition arrangements or delayed effective dates for aspects of the revised capital requirements consistent with Basel III and the Dodd-Frank Act. The agencies anticipate that they separately would seek comment on regulatory reporting instructions to harmonize regulatory reports with these proposals in a subsequentFederal Registernotice.

Many of the proposed requirements in the three NPRs are not applicable to smaller, less complex banking organizations. To assist these banking organizations in rapidly identifying the elements of these proposals that would apply to them, this NPR and the Standardized Approach NPR provide, as addenda to the corresponding preambles, a summary of the various aspects of each NPR designed to clearly and succinctly describe the two NPRs as they would typically apply to smaller, less complex banking organizations.10

10The Standardized Approach NPR also contains a second addendum to the preamble, which contains the definitions proposed under the Basel III NPR. Many of the proposed definitions also are applicable to the Standardized Approach NPR, which is published elsewhere in today'sFederal Register.

Basel III NPR

In 2010, the BCBS published Basel III, a comprehensive reform package that is designed to improve the quality and the quantity of regulatory capital and to build additional capacity into the banking system to absorb losses in times of future market and economic stress.11 This NPR proposes the majority of the revisions to international capital standards in Basel III, including a more restrictive definition of regulatory capital, higher minimum regulatory capital requirements, and a capital conservation and a countercyclical capital buffer, to enhance the ability of banking organizations to absorb losses and continue to operate as financial intermediaries during periods of economic stress.12 The proposal would place limits on banking organizations' capital distributions and certain discretionary bonuses if they do not hold specified “buffers” of common equity tier 1 capital in excess of the new minimum capital requirements.

11BCBS published Basel III in December 2010 and revised it in June 2011. The text is available athttp://www.bis.org/publ/bcbs189.htm.This NPR does not incorporate the Basel III reforms related to liquidity risk management, published in December 2010, “Basel III: International Framework for Liquidity Risk Measurement, Standards and Monitoring.” The agencies expect to propose rules to implement the Basel III liquidity provisions in a separate rulemaking.

12Selected aspects of Basel III that would apply only to advanced approaches banking organizations are proposed in the Advanced Approaches and Market Risk NPR.

This NPR also includes a leverage ratio contained in Basel III that incorporates certain off-balance sheet assets in the denominator (supplementary leverage ratio). The supplementary leverage ratio would apply only to banking organizations that use the advanced approaches rules (advanced approaches banking organizations). The current leverage ratio requirement (computed using the proposed new definition of capital) would continue to apply to all banking organizations, including advanced approaches banking organizations.

In this NPR, the agencies also propose revisions to the agencies' prompt corrective action (PCA) rules to incorporate the proposed revisions to the minimum regulatory capital ratios.13

1312 CFR part 6, 12 CFR 165 (OCC); 12 CFR part 208, subpart E (Board); 12 CFR part 325 and part 390, subpart Y (FDIC).

Standardized Approach NPR

The Standardized Approach NPR aims to enhance the risk-sensitivity of the agencies' capital requirements by revising the calculation of risk-weighted assets. It would do this by incorporating aspects of the Basel II Standardized Approach, including aspects of the 2009 “Enhancements to the Basel II Framework” (2009 Enhancements), and other changes designed to improve the risk-sensitivity of the general risk-based capital requirements. The proposed changes are described in further detail in the preamble to the Standardized Approach NPR.14 As compared to the general risk-based capital rules, the Standardized Approach NPR includes a greater number of exposure categories for purposes of calculating total risk-weighted assets, provides for greater recognition of financial collateral, and permits a wider range of eligible guarantors. In addition, to increase transparency in the derivatives market, the Standardized Approach NPR would provide a more favorable capital treatment for derivative and repo-style transactions cleared through central counterparties (as compared to the treatment for bilateral transactions) in order to create an incentive for banking organizations to enter into cleared transactions. Further, to promote transparency and market discipline, the Standardized Approach NPR proposes disclosure requirements that would apply to top-tier banking organizations domiciled in the United States with $50 billion or more in total assets that are not subject to disclosure requirements under the advanced approaches rule.

14 SeeBCBS, “Enhancements to the Basel II Framework” (July 2009), available athttp://www.bis.org/publ/bcbs157.htm (2009 Enhancements).See also BCBS, “International Convergence of Capital Measurement and Capital Standards: A Revised Framework,” (June 2006), available athttp://www.bis.org/publ/bcbs128.htm (Basel II).

In the Standardized Approach NPR, the agencies also propose to revise the calculation of risk-weighted assets for certain exposures, consistent with the requirements of section 939A of the Dodd-Frank Act by using standards of creditworthiness that are alternatives to credit ratings. These alternative standards would be used to assign risk weights to several categories of exposures, including sovereigns, public sector entities, depository institutions, and securitization exposures. These alternative standards and risk-based capital requirements have been designed to result in capital requirements that are consistent with safety and soundness, while also exhibiting risk sensitivity to the extent possible. Furthermore, these capital requirements are intended to be similar to those generated under the Basel capital framework.

The Standardized Approach NPR would require banking organizations to implement the revisions contained in that NPR on January 1, 2015; however, the proposal would also allow banking organizations to early adopt the Standardized Approach revisions.

Advanced Approaches and Market Risk NPR

The proposals in the Advanced Approaches and Market Risk NPR would amend the advanced approaches rules and integrate the agencies' revised market risk rules into the codified regulatory capital rules.15 The Advanced Approaches and Market Risk NPR would incorporate revisions to the Basel capital framework published by the BCBS in a series of documents between 2009 and 2011, including the 2009 Enhancements and Basel III. The proposals would also revise theadvanced approaches rules to achieve consistency with relevant provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act.

15The agencies' market risk rules are revised by a final rule published elsewhere today in theFederal Register.

Significant proposed revisions to the advanced approaches rules include the treatment of counterparty credit risk, the methodology for computing risk-weighted assets for securitization exposures, and risk weights for exposures to central counterparties. For example, the Advanced Approaches and Market Risk NPR proposes capital requirements to account for credit valuation adjustments (CVA), wrong-way risk, cleared derivative and repo-style transactions (similar to proposals in the Standardized Approach NPR) and default fund contributions to central counterparties. The Advanced Approaches and Market Risk NPR would also require banking organizations subject to the advanced approaches rules (advanced approaches banking organizations) to conduct more rigorous credit analysis of securitization exposures and implement certain disclosure requirements.

The Advanced Approaches and Market Risk NPR additionally proposes to remove the ratings-based approach and the internal assessment approach from the current advanced approaches rules' securitization hierarchy consistent with section 939A of the Dodd-Frank Act, and to include in the hierarchy the simplified supervisory formula approach (SSFA) as a methodology to calculate risk-weighted assets for securitization exposures. The SSFA methodology is also proposed in the Standardized Approach NPR and is included in the market risk rule. The agencies also are proposing to remove references to credit ratings from certain defined terms under the advanced approaches rules and replace them with alternative standards of creditworthiness.

Banking organizations currently subject to the advanced approaches rule would continue to be subject to the advanced approaches rules. In addition, the Board proposes to apply the advanced approaches and market risk rules to savings and loan holding companies, and the OCC and FDIC propose to apply the market risk rules to federal and state savings associations that meet the scope of application of those rules, respectively.

For advanced approaches banking organizations, the regulatory capital requirements proposed in this NPR and the Standardized Approach NPR would be “generally applicable” capital requirements for purposes of section 171 of the Dodd-Frank Act.16

16 See12 U.S.C. 5371.

Proposed Structure of the Agencies' Regulatory Capital Framework and Key Provisions of the Three Proposals

In connection with the changes proposed in the three NPRs, the agencies intend to codify their current regulatory capital requirements under applicable statutory authority. Under the revised structure, each agency's capital regulations would include definitions in subpart A. The minimum risk-based and leverage capital requirements and buffers would be contained in Subpart B and the definition of regulatory capital would be included in subpart C. Subpart D would include the risk-weighted asset calculations required of all banking organizations; these proposed risk-weighted asset calculations are described in the Standardized Approach NPR. Subpart E would contain the advanced approaches rules, including changes made pursuant to the advanced approach NPR. The market risk rule would be contained in subpart F. Transition provisions would be in subpart G. The agencies believe that this revision would reduce the burden associated with multiple reference points for applicable capital requirements, promote consistency of capital rules across the banking agencies, and reduce repetition of certain features, such as definitions, across the rules.

Table 1 outlines the proposed structure of the agencies' capital rules, as well as references to the proposed revisions to the PCA rules.

Table 1—Proposed Structure of the Agencies' Capital Rules and Proposed Revisions to the PCA Framework Subpart or regulation Description of content Subpart A (included in the Basel III NPR) Purpose; applicability; reservation of authority; definitions. Subpart B (included in the Basel III NPR) Minimum capital requirements; minimum leverage capital requirements; capital buffers. Subpart C (included in the Basel III NPR) Regulatory capital: Eligibility criteria, minority interest, adjustments and deductions. Subpart D (included in the Standardized Approach NPR) Calculation of standardized total risk-weighted assets for general credit risk, off-balance sheet items, over the counter (OTC) derivative contracts, cleared transactions and default fund contributions, unsettled transactions, securitization exposures, and equity exposures. Description of credit risk mitigation. Subpart E (included in the Advanced Approaches and Market Risk NPR) Calculation of advanced approaches total risk-weighted assets. Subpart F (included in the Advanced Approaches and Market Risk NPR) Calculation of market risk-weighted assets. Subpart G (included in the Basel III NPR) Transition provisions. Subpart D of Regulation H (Board), 12 CFR part 6 (OCC), Subpart H of part 324 (FDIC) Revised PCA capital framework, including introduction of a common equity tier 1 capital threshold; revision of the current PCA thresholds to incorporate the proposed regulatory capital minimums; an update of the definition of tangible common equity, and, for advanced approaches organizations only, a supplementary leverage ratio.

While the agencies are mindful that the proposal will result in higher capital requirements and costs associated with changing systems to calculate capital requirements, the agencies believe that the proposed changes are necessary to address identified weaknesses in the agencies' current capital rules; strengthen the banking sector and help reduce risk to the deposit insurance fund and the financial system; and revise the agencies' capital rulesconsistent with the international agreements and U.S. law. Accordingly, this NPR includes transition arrangements that aim to provide banking organizations sufficient time to adjust to the proposed new rules and that are generally consistent with the transitional arrangements of the Basel capital framework.

In December 2010, the BCBS conducted a quantitative impact study of internationally active banks to assess the impact of the capital adequacy standards announced in July 2009 and the Basel III proposal published in December 2009. Overall, the BCBS found that as a result of the proposed changes, banking organizations surveyed will need to hold more capital to meet the new minimum requirements. In addition, quantitative analysis by the Macroeconomic Assessment Group, a working group of the BCBS, found that the stronger Basel capital requirements would lower the probability of banking crises and their associated output losses while having only a modest negative impact on gross domestic product and lending costs, and that the negative impact could be mitigated by phasing the requirements in over time.17 The agencies believe that the benefits of these changes to the U.S. financial system, in terms of the reduction of risk to the deposit insurance fund and the financial system, ultimately outweigh the burden on banking organizations of compliance with the new standards.

17 See“Assessing the Macroeconomic Impact of the Transition to Stronger Capital and Liquidity Requirements” (August 2010), available athttp://www.bis.org/publ/othp10.pdf;“An assessment of the long-term economic impact of stronger capital and liquidity requirements” (August 2010), available athttp://www.bis.org/publ/bcbs173.pdf.

As part of developing this proposal, the agencies conducted an impact analysis using depository institution and bank holding company regulatory reporting data to estimate the change in capital that banking organizations would be required to hold to meet the proposed minimum capital requirements. The impact analysis assumed the proposed definition of capital for purposes of the numerator and the proposed standardized risk-weights for purposes of the denominator, and made stylized assumptions in cases where necessary input data were unavailable from regulatory reports. Based on the agencies' analysis, the vast majority of banking organizations currently would meet the fully phased-in minimum capital requirements as of March 31, 2012, and those organizations that would not meet the proposed minimum requirements should have ample time to adjust their capital levels by the end of the transition period.

Table 2 summarizes key changes proposed in the Basel III and Standardized Approach NPRs and how these changes compare with the agencies' general risk-based and leverage capital rules.

Table 2—Key Provisions of the Basel III and Standardized Approach NPRs as Compared With the Current Risk-Based and Leverage Capital Rules Aspect of proposed requirements Proposed treatment Basel III NPR Minimum Capital Ratios: Common equity tier 1 capital ratio (section 10) Introduces a minimum requirement of 4.5 percent. Tier 1 capital ratio (section 10) Increases the minimum requirement from 4.0 percent to 6.0 percent. Total capital ratio (section 10) Minimum unchanged (remains at 8.0 percent). Leverage ratio (section 10) Modifies the minimum leverage ratio requirement based on the new definition of tier 1 capital. Introduces a supplementary leverage ratio requirement for advanced approaches banking organizations. Components of Capital and Eligibility Criteria for Regulatory Capital Instruments (sections 20-22) Enhances the eligibility criteria for regulatory capital instruments and adds certain adjustments to and deductions from regulatory capital, including increased deductions for mortgage servicing assets (MSAs) and deferred tax assets (DTAs) and new limits on the inclusion of minority interests in capital. Provides that unrealized gains and losses on all available for sale (AFS) securities and gains and losses associated with certain cash flow hedges flow through to common equity tier 1 capital. Capital Conservation Buffer (section 11) Introduces a capital conservation buffer of common equity tier 1 capital above the minimum risk-based capital requirements, which must be maintained to avoid restrictions on capital distributions and certain discretionary bonus payments. Countercyclical Capital Buffer (section 11) Introduces for advanced approaches banking organizations a mechanism to increase the capital conservation buffer during times of excessive credit growth. Standardized Approach NPR Risk-Weighted Assets Credit exposures to: Unchanged. U.S. government and its agencies U.S. government-sponsored entities U.S. depository institutions and credit unions U.S. public sector entities, such as states and municipalities (section 32) Credit exposures to:
  • Foreign sovereigns
  • Foreign banks
  • Foreign public sector entities (section 32)
  • Introduces a more risk-sensitive treatment using the Country Risk Classification measure produced by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
    Corporate exposures (section 32) Assigns a 100 percent risk weight to corporate exposures, including exposures to securities firms. Residential mortgage exposures (section 32) Introduces a more risk-sensitive treatment based on several criteria, including certain loan characteristics and the loan-to-value-ratio of the exposure. High volatility commercial real estate exposures (section 32) Applies a 150 percent risk weight to certain credit facilities that finance the acquisition, development or construction of real property. Past due exposures (section 32) Applies a 150 percent risk weight to exposures that are not sovereign exposures or residential mortgage exposures and that are more than 90 days past due or on nonaccrual. Securitization exposures (sections 41-45) Maintains the gross-up approach for securitization exposures.
  • Replaces the current ratings-based approach with a formula-based approach for determining a securitization exposure's risk weight based on the underlying assets and exposure's relative position in the securitization's structure.
  • Equity exposures (sections 51-53) Introduces more risk-sensitive treatment for equity exposures. Off-balance Sheet Items (sections 33) Revises the measure of the counterparty credit risk of repo-style transactions. Raises the credit conversion factor for most short-term commitments from zero percent to 20 percent. Derivative Contracts (section 34) Removes the 50 percent risk weight cap for derivative contracts. Cleared Transactions (section 35) Provides preferential capital requirements for cleared derivative and repo-style transactions (as compared to requirements for non-cleared transactions) with central counterparties that meet specified standards. Also requires that a clearing member of a central counterparty calculate a capital requirement for its default fund contributions to that central counterparty. Credit Risk Mitigation (section 36) Provides a more comprehensive recognition of collateral and guarantees. Disclosure Requirements (sections 61-63) Introduces qualitative and quantitative disclosure requirements, including regarding regulatory capital instruments, for banking organizations with total consolidated assets of $50 billion or more that are not subject to the separate advanced approaches disclosure requirements.

    Under section 165 of the Dodd-Frank Act, the Board is required to establish the enhanced risk-based and leverage capital requirements for bank holding companies with total consolidated assets of $50 billion or more and nonbank financial companies that the Financial Stability Oversight Council has designated for supervision by the Board (collectively, covered companies).18 The Board published for comment in theFederal Registeron January 5, 2012, a proposal regarding the enhanced prudential standards and early remediation requirements. The capital requirements as proposed in the three NPRs would become a key part of the Board's overall approach to enhancing the risk-based capital and leverage standards applicable to covered companies in accordance with section 165 of the Dodd-Frank Act.19 In addition, the Board intends to supplement the enhanced risk-based capital and leverage requirements included in its January 2012 proposal with a subsequent proposal to implement a quantitative risk-based capital surcharge for covered companies or a subset of covered companies. The BCBS is calibrating a methodology for assessing an additional capital surcharge for global systemically important banks (G-SIBs).20 The Board intends to propose a quantitative risk-based capital surcharge in the United States based on the BCBS approach and consistent with the BCBS's implementation time frame. The forthcoming proposal would contemplate adopting implementing rules in 2014, and requiring G-SIBs to meet the capital surcharges on a phased-in basis from 2016-2019. The OCC also is reviewing the BCBS proposal and is considering whether to propose to apply a similar surcharge for globally significant national banks.

    18 Seesection 165 of the Dodd-Frank Act (12 U.S.C. 5365).

    1977 FR 594 (January 5, 2012).

    20 See“Global Systemically Important Banks: Assessment Methodology and the Additional Loss Absorbency Requirement” (July 2011), available athttp://www.bis.org/publ/bcbs201.pdf.

    Question 1:The agencies solicit comment on all aspects of the proposals including comment on the specific issues raised throughout this preamble. Commenters are requested to provide a detailed qualitative or quantitative analysis, as appropriate, as well as any relevant data and impact analysis to support their positions.

    B. Background

    In 1989, the agencies established a risk-based capital framework for U.S. national banks, state member and nonmember banks, and bank holding companies with the general risk-based capital rules.21 The agencies based the framework on the “International Convergence of Capital Measurement and Capital Standards” (Basel I), released by the BCBS in 1988.22 The general risk-based capital rules instituted a uniform risk-based capital system that was more risk-sensitive than, and addressed several shortcomings in, the regulatory capital rules in effect prior to 1989. The agencies' capital rules also included a minimum leverage measure of capital to total assets, established in the early 1980s, to place a constraint on the maximum degree to which a banking organization can leverage its capital base.

    21 See54 FR 4186 (January 27, 1989) (Board); 54 FR 4168 (January 27, 1989) (OCC); 54 FR 11500 (March 21, 1989).

    22BCBS, “International Convergence of Capital Measurement and Capital Standards” (July 1988), available athttp://www.bis.org/publ/bcbs04a.htm.

    In 2004, the BCBS introduced a new international capital adequacy framework (Basel II) that was intendedto improve risk measurement and management processes and to better align minimum risk-based capital requirements with risk of the underlying exposures.23 Basel II is designed as a “three pillar” framework encompassing risk-based capital requirements for credit risk, market risk, and operational risk (Pillar 1); supervisory review of capital adequacy (Pillar 2); and market discipline through enhanced public disclosures (Pillar 3). To calculate risk-based capital requirements for credit risk, Basel II provides three approaches: the standardized approach (Basel II standardized approach), the foundation internal ratings-based approach, and the advanced internal ratings-based approach. Basel II also introduces an explicit capital requirement for operational risk, which may be calculated using one of three approaches: the basic indicator approach, the standardized approach, or the advanced measurement approaches. On December 7, 2007, the agencies implemented the advanced approaches rules that incorporated Basel II advanced internal ratings-based approach for credit risk and the advanced measurement approaches for operational risk.24

    23 See“International Convergence of Capital Measurement and Capital Standards: A Revised Framework” (June 2006), available athttp://www.bis.org/publ/bcbs128.htm.

    24 See72 FR 69288 (December 7, 2007).

    To address some of the shortcomings in the international capital standards exposed during the crisis, the BCBS issued the “2009 Enhancements” in July 2009 to enhance certain risk-based capital requirements and to encourage stronger management of credit and market risk. The “2009 Enhancements” strengthen the risk-based capital requirements for certain securitization exposures to better reflect their risk, increase the credit conversion factors for certain short-term liquidity facilities, and require that banking organizations conduct more rigorous credit analysis of their exposures.25

    25In July 2009, the BCBS also issued “Revisions to the Basel II Market Risk Framework,” available athttp://www.bis.org/publ/bcbs193.htm.The agencies issued an NPR in January 2011 and a supplement in December 2011, that included provisions to implement the market-risk related provisions. 76 FR 1890 (January 11, 2011); 76 FR 79380 (December 21, 2011).

    In 2010, the BCBS published a comprehensive reform package, Basel III, which is designed to improve the quality and the quantity of regulatory capital and to build additional capacity into the banking system to absorb losses in times of future market and economic stress. Basel III introduces or enhances a number of capital standards, including a stricter definition of regulatory capital, a minimum tier 1 common equity ratio, the addition of a regulatory capital buffer, a leverage ratio, and a disclosure requirement for regulatory capital instruments. Implementing Basel III is the focus of this NPR, as described below. Certain elements of Basel III are also proposed in the Standardized Approach NPR and the Advanced Approaches and Market Risk NPR, as discussed in those notices.

    Quality and Quantity of Capital

    The recent financial crisis demonstrated that the amount of high-quality capital held by banks globally was insufficient to absorb losses during that period. In addition, some non-common stock capital instruments included in tier 1 capital did not absorb losses to the extent previously expected. A lack of clear and easily understood disclosures regarding the amount of high-quality regulatory capital and characteristics of regulatory capital instruments, as well as inconsistencies in the definition of capital across jurisdictions, contributed to the difficulties in evaluating a bank's capital strength. To evaluate banks' creditworthiness and overall stability more accurately, market participants increasingly focused on the amount of banks' tangible common equity, the most loss-absorbing form of capital.

    The crisis also raised questions about banks' ability to conserve capital during a stressful period or to cancel or defer interest payments on tier 1 capital instruments. For example, in some jurisdictions banks exercised call options on hybrid tier 1 capital instruments, even when it became apparent that the banks' capital positions would suffer as a result.

    Consistent with Basel III, the proposals in this NPR would address these deficiencies by imposing, among other requirements, stricter eligibility criteria for regulatory capital instruments and increasing the minimum tier 1 capital ratio from 4 to 6 percent. To help ensure that a banking organization holds truly loss-absorbing capital, the proposal also introduces a minimum common equity tier 1 capital to total risk-weighted assets ratio of 4.5 percent. In addition, the proposals would require that most regulatory deductions from, and adjustments to, regulatory capital (for example, the deductions related to mortgage servicing assets (MSAs) and deferred tax assets (DTAs) be applied to common equity tier 1 capital. The proposals would also eliminate certain features of the current risk-based capital rules, such as adjustments to regulatory capital to neutralize the effect on the capital account of unrealized gains and losses on AFS debt securities. To reduce the double counting of regulatory capital, Basel III also limits investments in the capital of unconsolidated financial institutions that would be included in regulatory capital and requires deduction from capital if a banking organization has exposures to these institutions that go beyond certain percentages of its common equity tier 1 capital. Basel III also revises risk-weights associated with certain items that are subject to deduction from regulatory capital.

    Finally, to promote transparency and comparability of regulatory capital across jurisdictions, Basel III introduces public disclosure requirements, including those for regulatory capital instruments, that are designed to help market participants assess and compare the overall stability and resiliency of banking organizations across jurisdictions.

    Capital Conservation and Countercyclical Capital Buffer

    As noted previously, some banking organizations continued to pay dividends and substantial discretionary bonuses even as their financial condition weakened as a result of the recent financial crisis and economic downturn. Such capital distributions had a significant negative impact on the overall strength of the banking sector. To encourage better capital conservation by banking organizations and to improve the resiliency of the banking system, Basel III and this proposal include limits on capital distributions and discretionary bonuses for banking organizations that do not hold a specified amount of common equity tier 1 capital in addition to the common equity necessary to meet the minimum risk-based capital requirements (capital conservation buffer).

    Under this proposal, for advanced approaches banking organizations, the capital conservation buffer may be expanded by up to 2.5 percent of risk-weighted assets if the relevant national authority determines that financial markets in its jurisdiction are experiencing a period of excessive aggregate credit growth that is associated with an increase in system-wide risk. The countercyclical capital buffer is designed to take into account the macro-financial environment in which banking organizations function and help protect the banking system from the systemic vulnerabilities.

    Basel III Leverage Ratio

    Since the early 1980s, U.S. banking organizations have been subject to a minimum leverage measure of capital to total assets designed to place a constraint on the maximum degree to which a banking organization can leverage its equity capital base. However, prior to the adoption of Basel III, the Basel capital framework did not include a leverage ratio requirement. It became apparent during the crisis that some banks built up excessive on- and off-balance sheet leverage while continuing to present strong risk-based capital ratios. In many instances, banks were forced by the markets to reduce their leverage and exposures in a manner that increased downward pressure on asset prices and further exacerbated overall losses in the financial sector.

    The BCBS introduced a leverage ratio (the Basel III leverage ratio) to discourage the acquisition of excess leverage and to act as a backstop to the risk-based capital requirements. The Basel III leverage ratio is defined as the ratio of tier 1 capital to a combination of on- and off-balance sheet assets; the minimum ratio is 3 percent. The introduction of the leverage requirement in the Basel capital framework should improve the resiliency of the banking system worldwide by providing an ultimate limit on the amount of leverage a banking organization may incur.

    As described in section II.B of this preamble, the agencies are proposing to apply the Basel III leverage ratio only to advanced approaches banking organizations as an additional leverage requirement (supplementary leverage ratio). For all banking organizations, the agencies are proposing to update and maintain the current leverage requirement, as revised to reflect the proposed definition of tier 1 capital.

    Additional Revisions to the Basel Capital Framework

    To facilitate the implementation of Basel III, the BCBS issued a series of releases in 2011 in the form of frequently asked questions.26 In addition, in 2011, the BCBS proposed to revise the treatment of counterparty credit risk and specific capital requirements for derivative and repo-style transaction exposures to central counterparties (CCP) to address concerns related to the interconnectedness and complexity of the derivatives markets.27 The proposed revisions provide incentives for banking organizations to clear derivatives and repo-style transactions through qualifying central counterparties (QCCP) to help promote market transparency and improve the ability of market participants to unwind their positions quickly and efficiently. The agencies have incorporated these provisions in the Standardized Approach NPR and the Advanced Approaches and Market Risk NPR.

    26 See, e.g.,“Basel III FAQs answered by the Basel Committee” (July, October, December 2011), available athttp://www.bis.org/list/press_releases/index.htm.

    27The BCBS left unchanged the treatment of exposures to CCPs for settlement of cash transactions such as equities, fixed income, spot foreign exchange and spot commodities. See “Capitalization of