EU leaders push for fast-track clampdown on banking

* Heads of state demand “rapid progress” in bank regulation

* Call comes at meeting that decided aid scheme for Greece

* Politicians blame economic spiral on banks

By John O’Donnell

BRUSSELS, March 26 (BestGrowthStock) – European leaders called on
Friday for faster regulation of bankers, their pay and the way
they do business at a meeting that agreed how the EU will help
Greece, sucked into a global crisis many blame on financiers.

The economic slump, triggered when banks lost control of
loans they had repackaged and sold, has put the regulation of
financial services at the top of the political agenda.

The European Union is pushing through a raft of rules, from
curbing banker pay to demanding that lenders set aside more
money for difficult times.

On Friday, leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel
and French President Nicolas Sarkozy outlined their ambitions in
a draft statement during an EU summit in Brussels.

They called for “rapid progress” on rules for the amount of
capital banks are required to keep, coping with lenders deemed
“too big to fail” and increasing transparency on derivatives

The statement also said the executive European Commission
would present a report soon on potential sources of finance such
as a levy on financial transactions worldwide.

The leaders from the EU’s 27 countries also signalled a
desire for cooperation between Brussels and Washington in
tackling financial services regulation, talking about the need
for a level playing field globally.

Earlier this month, a row flared between Europe and the
United States over how Brussels wants to regulate hedge funds
and private equity. A last-minute intervention by British Prime
Minister Gordon Brown put the planned EU law on hold.

The delay disappointed many lawmakers, who believe it throws
a question mark not only over the EU’s ability to control hedge
funds but also to push ahead with a regulatory shake-up of
financial services.

On Thursday, leaders from the 16 EU countries that use the
euro agreed to create a safety net with the International
Monetary Fund to help debt-ridden Greece.

Investment Advice
(Editing by Dale Hudson)

EU leaders push for fast-track clampdown on banking