Capital requirements Definition
Bank's and depository institutions are regulated by governments to disclose and handle their capital in a certain way. The categorization of assets and capital is highly standardized so that it can be risk weighted. Internationally, the Bank for International Settlements's Basel Committee on Banking Supervision influence each country's capital requirements. In 1988, the Committee decided to introduce a capital measurement system commonly referred to as the Basel Capital Accord. The latest capital adequacy framework is commonly known as Basel II.
In the United States, "depository institutions" are subject to risk-based capital guidelines issued by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (FRB). These guidelines are used to evaluate capital adequacy based primarily on the perceived credit risk associated with balance sheet assets, as well as certain off-balance sheet exposures such as unfunded loan commitments, letters of credit, and derivative and foreign exchange contracts. The risk-based capital guidelines are supplemented by a leverage ratio requirement. To be well-capitalized under federal bank regulatory agency definitions, a bank holding company must have a Tier 1 capital ratio of at least 6%, a combined Tier 1 and Tier 2 capital ratio of at least 10%, and a leverage ratio of at least 3%, and not be subject to a directive, order, or written agreement to meet and maintain specific capital levels.