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ECB briefs heads of top euro zone banks ahead of stress tests

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Bosses from top euro zone banks were gathering at the European Central Bank on Wednesday to find out what it will be looking for in its upcoming "stress tests" on their balance sheets. Before the ECB takes up its new role supervising euro zone banks from late next year, it plans to run a series of rigorous tests to uncover any possible shortfalls on the lenders' balance sheets to avoid any surprises once it has taken charge.

Factbox: Non-euro zone bank stress tests preparations by country

LONDON (Reuters) - Many of the 11 EU nations that lie outside the euro zone plan to align tests of the health of their banks closely with a European Central Bank assessment of major lenders within the currency bloc. Below are details of domestic and standalone banks in the countries, plus national supervisors' plans for the tests, where available. Further data on the countries' banking systems is available here http://link.reuters.com/wyb64v BULGARIA Assets of domestic and standalone banks: 11.1 billion euros

European Central Bank says new agency to restructure failing banks needed next year

FRANKFURT - The European Central Bank is pushing for the quick setup of an agency that can restructure failing banks, saying the new entity can be set up under the existing European Union treaty. The ECB said Friday that the new agency needs to start work in the middle of next year. The bank's opinion clashes with calls from Germany to use a network of national agencies instead while waiting for treaty to be changed to allow the resolution agency.

European stocks surge on surprise ECB rate cut

Europe's major stock markets surged higher and the euro tumbled against the dollar on Thursday after a surprise decision by the ECB to cut its main interest rate to an all-time low. The European Central Bank cut its central "refi" or refinancing rate by a quarter of a percentage point to a new record low of 0.25 percent at its monthly policy meeting, in a decision that took most traders off-stride.

Exclusive: ECB extends first data haul deadline to give banks extra time

By Laura Noonan and Georgina Prodhan LONDON/VIENNA (Reuters) - The European Central Bank has eased the first deadline for lenders to submit data to be used in its review of eurozone banks after some banks said they did not have enough time to meet the demands. The ECB said affected banks had been given until November 29 to submit data for a risk assessment that is underway. It was originally due to be submitted to the ECB by mid November, three European banking sources told Reuters.

Euro zone fate in Italy's hands, says ECB's Asmussen

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's fate is crucial to determining the fate of the euro zone but the country must turn around its economy alone as it is too big to be rescued, European Central Bank policymaker Joerg Asmussen said on Friday. In a speech in Milan, Asmussen said the euro zone cannot prosper if Italy, the bloc's third-largest economy, is not growing. The Italian economy is mired in its longest post-war recession and has contracted for eight successive quarters.

Greek bank deposits fall in September for fourth month: central bank

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek bank deposits dropped for the fourth straight month in September, central bank data showed on Friday, as austerity-hit households run down bank accounts to pay higher taxes imposed under Greece's international bailout. Deposits of businesses and households fell 0.5 percent from the previous month to 161.35 billion euros ($222.72 billion), the Bank of Greece data showed, bringing total net outflows since June to 1.79 billion euros.

Draghi wants European banks backstop in place by 2015

By Eva Taylor FRANKFURT (Reuters) - A common resolution mechanism for dealing with troubled banks is a crucial part of the euro zone's banking union and the European Central Bank wants it in place by 2015, ECB President Mario Draghi told Reuters on Wednesday. Wary of a lopsided banking union that could see it supervise euro zone banks without a common backstop in place, the ECB has urged governments to agree on a strong single resolution mechanism (SRM) to salvage or wind down banks in trouble.

Europe seeks back-up plan for troubled banks within weeks

By John O'Donnell and Huw Jones BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European states need to spell out by late November how they will cope with recapitalizing troubled banks to pave the way for prompt health checks, EU leaders will pledge this week, according to a draft statement. Such a commitment is designed to persuade investors that countries are ready to come clean on the banking problems that continue to dog the region after more than half a decade.

ECB bond market group: AQR could hamper SME lending

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European Central Bank's upcoming asset quality review (AQR) of banks it will supervise from next year could result in a temporary reduction in lending to small firms, experts from an ECB working group said. It could also sharpen the differences in small and medium-sized enterprises' (SMEs) borrowing costs, the ECB's Bond Market Contact Group minutes said.
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