Bank stress tests to be more rigorous than before

The European Central Bank promised on Wednesday to put top eurozone banks through rigorous tests next year, staking its credibility on a review that aims to build confidence in the sector.

The Frankfurt-based ECB wants to unearth any risks hidden in balance sheets before supervision comes under its roof as part of a banking union designed to avoid a repeat of the euro debt crisis, which was exacerbated by massive bad property loans in countries such as Ireland and Spain.

However, some analysts say that if the review reveals unexpectedly large problems at some banks, it could undermine the very confidence it aims to bolster.

A provisional list of banks to be reviewed includes four Greek lenders: National, Alpha, Piraeus and Eurobank.


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