April 16, 2019 / 2:32 PM / 2 days ago

EU lawmakers approve package of banking reforms

European Union flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, April 10, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union lawmakers approved on Tuesday an overhaul of banking rules, addressing some of the loopholes exposed by the global financial crisis.

The banking overhaul, proposed by the European Commission in November 2016, sets the level of cash banks must set aside to absorb losses and introduces new requirements for capital and liquidity, in line with global standards agreed after the 2007-09 financial crisis.

In separate votes, lawmakers also approved on Tuesday new rules that increase the powers of EU financial supervisors, although the final law is watered-down version of the initial proposal made by the EU Commission.

The Parliament passed as well new measures that grant EU-wide protection to whistleblowers who expose corruption, tax evasion and other crimes.

Under the banking reform approved by the parliament, EU lenders will be required to hold a minimum amount of funds against risks from their lending, in a bid to increase their financial stability.

Banks will also have to meet funding requirements aimed at limiting reliance on short-term financing that contributed to the global financial crisis.

The laws approved should strengthen the EU legal framework to combat money laundering, but the changes have been criticized as being insufficient to prevent the scandals that have recently engulfed several banks in the region.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio, editing by Larry King

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