G7 agrees banks must help pay crisis costs

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Group of Seven officials agree banks must contribute toward the cost of dealing with the financial crisis but have not agreed on how they should pay, a German official said on Saturday.

There is a consensus that banks themselves have to contribute to pay for the financial burden of the crisis, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

But he said there was no agreement on exactly what form payments should take.

The British government has announced a 50 percent levy on large bonuses at banks to help cover the cost of the crisis.

U.S. lawmakers have been slower to move on taxing bonuses. President Barack Obama in January proposed a fee on the largest financial companies to recoup expected taxpayer losses associated with the bailouts.

The German official said Canada, which did not have to bail out its banks during the crisis, had put forward ideas on strengthening lenders and broader financial market reform.

Canada has made a proposal, in which three points have been lined out, and which were supported. The first issue is that of capital rules, the official said.

The second is to recreate a transparent securitization market. And the third is the sector of market infrastructure especially for derivatives.

A revival of the securitization market could play a key role in supporting the global economic recovery.

Securitization of subprime mortgages, in which home loans are bundled and sold onto the secondary debt market as securities, helped inflate the U.S. real estate bubble that burst in 2007-2008, triggering the financial crisis.

Since then, the securitized mortgage debt market has been flat on its back, kept alive largely by government support, with bankers and regulators searching for ways to revive it.

President Obama, seeking to make lenders more concerned about the repayment potential of loans they make, wants to require that they keep on their books a minimum percentage of the loans that they securitize.

The U.S. Congress so far has backed Obama's so-called skin in the game rule, and is debating other measures that would require clearer disclosure of the risks inherent in often complex securitized debt instruments traded on the markets.

REFORM MEETING IN BERLIN

The German official also said Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has invited his G7 counterparts to a May 20 meeting in Berlin on financial system regulation.

The conference, hosted by Schaeuble and attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel, is being attended by central bankers, regulatory authorities and academics.

The gathering will work toward an integrated global framework in order to provide a level playing field, according to the invitation letter Schaeuble sent to his G7 colleagues.

It will also aim to review achievements made so far, and to gather a new political momentum to address the remaining challenges ahead.

(With additional reporting by Kevin Drawbaugh in Washington; Writing by Jeffrey Hodgson; editing by Peter Galloway)

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