Minister uncertain about FSA requirements

Housing Minister Peter Eriksson is doubtful about the new amortisation requirement and believes other alternatives ought to be considered.

On Monday the Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) is expected to make a decision about whether to introduce new tougher amortisation requirements. The issue is a difficult decision for the government as giving the go-ahead could entail risks, but stopping the proposal would undermine the FSA.

On Wednesday Financial Markets Minister Per Bolund (Green) criticised the opposition, calling its stance against the proposal “irresponsible”. However, party colleague Peter Eriksson expressed his uncertainty. “I think the amortisation requirement that was brought in recently has had mainly a positive effect. In the situation we have now it is more uncertain. I think that other possible measures ought to be considered,” he says. His main concern is that it would slow down housing construction.

Elevated risk

In a report presented on Thursday, Sweden’s financial supervisory authority Finansinspektion (FI) said that new rules introduced in June last year, forcing new mortgage borrowers to pay down their loans, had helped make households more resilient, but the full effect would take years to realise (ed.). FI’s chief economist, Henrik Braconier, warned of an elevated risk that house prices could fall sharply, as could income, and of the likelihood of rising interest rates.

Raised capital requirements for banks

Yesterday the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen) suggested further tightening of the requirements on banks’ lending to corporates, putting more pressure on the banking sector.

The new rules entail raising the risk weight for corporate lending, which will mean that the average risk weight is expected to exceed 30%. The risk weight determines how much capital the bank must have as a buffer for each krona loaned.

The news hit Handelsbanken in particular, whose shares closed at a minus.