上周五欧洲银行管理局（European Banking Authority）公布了这一最近涉及德国、西班牙、爱尔兰等欧洲国家共计90多家金融机构的抗压测试结果。决策者们希望藉此打消公众对于银行实力的疑虑。过去的两年当中，欧洲经济危机使得经济总产值下滑了四个百分点。在这期间，欧洲银行由于先天性的资金不足，大多是靠从市场借贷过日子。
Of the failing banks -- those whose so-called core capital fell below 5% -- five are from Spain, two from Greece* and one from Austria, according to results released by euro area banking watchdogs. Of those that passed but could stand to bulk up, with core capital of 5%-6%, nearly half -- seven -- are from Spain.
Friday's announcement from the European Banking Authority concludes the latest round of stress tests for 90 big institutions from Germany to Spain to Ireland. Policymakers are hoping to dispel worries about the capacity of Europe's banks, which historically carry less capital and rely more on money borrowed in the markets, to survive a recession that slashes economic output by 4% over two years.
But any relief wasn't immedately visible. European bank stocks traded modestly lower in the United States, and the spreads on the debt of weaker countries such as Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain widened modestly, indicating sustained stress.
欧洲经济的复苏急需一个资本高度充足的银行系统。在最近发表的一篇文章中，经济合作发展组织（Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development）估计银行在欧洲的授信是其总量的3/4——这个数字是美国的3倍，而且主要是政府抵押。
舆论普遍认为，实力强劲的大型上市银行，例如德国德意志银行（Deutsche Bank，DB），英国巴克莱银行（Barclays，BCS）和西班牙国际银行（Banco Santander，STD）将轻松过关。
目前公众的忧虑主要集中在德国特别是西班牙的区域性银行，这些银行在资金方面捉襟见肘，而且问题贷款多为政治性贷款而非商业贷款。测试合格的银行中，爱尔兰的银行曾于过去三年获得过巨大的援助贷款，这也使得爱尔兰对欧洲中央银行（the European Central Bank）和国际货币基金组织（International Monetary Fund）养成了衣来伸手的习惯。
这与欧洲银行管理局的要求背道而驰。欧洲银行管理局曾要求各国管理者敦促这些“核心资本接近5%和因国债明显透支的问题银行采取具体措施进一步融资 ”。这一点似乎适用于很大一部分西班牙银行，但是西班牙银行（Bank of Spain）似乎并不买账。
A well capitalized banking system is crucial for a European economic recovery. A recent paper by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimated that banks provide three-quarters of credit extension in Europe – three times as much as in the United States, with its government-backed mortgages.
The biggest, publicly listed banks such as Deutsche Bank (DB) of Germany, Barclays (BCS) of the U.K. and Banco Santander (STD) of Spain have been widely seen as sufficiently strong to pass the test.
Leaders of the European Union said this week they will stand behind those banks that aren't able to raise capital privately, in a replay of the exercise the United States ran in the spring of 2009. The EBA said a dozen more banks would have failed the test if they hadn't raised capital early this year.
Concern has centered on the regional banks in Germany and especially Spain, where the cajas are widely viewed as undercapitalized and chock full of questionable loans made for political rather than economic reasons. Among those passing were the Irish banks whose massive bailout over the past three years has left the Irish state addicted to support from the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.
The latest tests come after a round last year was hooted down in the market after only seven, mostly smaller institutions were found wanting. Moody's said this month it viewed 26 banks as bearing a "heightened risk of needing extraordinary external support."
So the finding that 24 institutions need more money is definitely tougher and therefore more credible. Even so, many have questioned the utility of the tests at a time when investors are demanding much more compensation for the risk of buying bonds issued with large deficits, heavy debt loads or shrinking economies.
Every country's banking system is ultimately backed by its national government, and when there are questions about the viability of economies as large as Italy (the euro area's third-biggest), the mere observation that the banks have plentiful capital is not apt to ease investor fears.
The design of the latest stress tests drew further eye-rolling because they fail to assess what would happen to banks if a sovereign bond issuer such as Greece defaults. Since that is the very scenario investors have spent the past 18 months fretting over, it seems like a bit of an oversight.
But the EBA says it will test instead what will happen if the value of sovereign bonds are reduced.
"The adverse scenario also includes a specific sovereign stress in the EU leading to further falls in the price of some EU bonds from the already stressed levels seen at end 2010," an EBA stress test explainer notes.
Further adding to the confusion, Spain's central bank -- which under the national regulatory arrangements in Europe is responsible for making sure its banks are adequately capitalized -- said its banks won't actually need to raise any more money, because of general loss provisions and their issuance of bonds that convert to stock in a failure.
This despite the fact that the EBA says it has urged local regulators to urge banks with capital "above but close to 5%, and which have sizeable exposures to sovereigns under stress, to take specific steps to strengthen their capital position." That seems to apply to numerous Spanish lenders, but the Bank of Spain doesn't appear to agree.