The European Central Bank (ECB) said Sunday that 25 of Europe's biggest banks have flunked the Eurozone's first year-long financial-health exam that aimed to measure their ability to weather another economic crisis. Ultimately, the 25 banks fell short of minimum levels of capital by a total of more than $31 billion.
The assessment was only slightly worse than what was predicted of the 130 banks surveyed, and the ECB said that 12 of the 25 that failed had already made up for their shortfalls during the months the ECB was conducting its review, leaving the remaining 13 with two weeks to come up with a plan to increase their capital buffers.
No top-tier banks failed the so-called stress tests and the failures were concentrated among Italian banks, with nine failures, and Cypriot and Greek banks, with three each.
ECB Vice President Vítor Constâncio said the stress test was a "unique and rigorous exercise" that will improve public confidence in the banking sector and "help repair balance sheets and make the banks more resilient and robust."
Italy’s third-largest lender, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, is the largest failing bank with a shortfall of about $2.7 billion, prompting the bank to hire consultant investment bankers at Citigroup and UBS AG to advise on strategic options.