FSB’s Carney sees lower risk of a European bank failure

City A.M. Reporter
RECENT policy steps in Europe have “dramatically reduced” the risk of a Lehman-style banking failure there, Bank of Canada governor and Financial Stability Board head Mark Carney said yesterday, but he fell short of saying he was optimistic that a worst-case scenario had been averted.

Decisive action by the European Central Bank to provide liquidity to the region's financial system has eased market pressure on Spain and Italy and boosted demand for their bonds, said Carney, who became head of the G20’s FSB in November.

“It is absolutely essential that the financial system, the banking system specifically in Europe, is able to finance itself on a reasonable basis, that we’re not worried about a Lehman event in Europe,” Carney said in Davos.

“Our view is that, given the measures that the ECB has taken and the heightened focus of the banking regulator in Europe on the health of these institutions, that tail risk has been dramatically reduced. That’s incredibly important,” he added.

When asked whether that meant he was now optimistic about a positive outcome for the European debt crisis, Carney said he was merely “realistic”.

“Within that context, one is realistic because the judgment has to be made: Have European authorities done enough to take away the more extreme possibilities?” Carney asked.