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Dutch Central Bank Says Buffers Must Get Priority Over Bank Tax

March 29, 2012

Dutch lenders should be given time to strengthen their capital buffers rather than pay a levy, according to the country’s central bank.

“We prefer buffers at banks over topped-off buffers at banks that are shifted to the government,” Klaas Knot, who heads the Dutch central bank, said at a press conference in Amsterdam today.

The Dutch government wants to introduce a bank tax as soon as mid-2012 to make lenders contribute to financial stability after institutions including ING Groep NV (INGA) and ABN Amro Group NV needed taxpayer bailouts in the wake of the global financial crisis. The tax, designed to raise 300 million euros ($398 million) annually, will apply to all lenders that are active and licensed in the Netherlands.

“We strongly strive for banks to strengthen their buffers,” Jan Sijbrand, central bank director responsible for the supervision of lenders, said today. “The bank tax just goes in the wrong direction, it limits the speed with which banks’ capital buffers are built up.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Maud van Gaal in Amsterdam at; Jurjen van de Pol in Amsterdam at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at

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