Credit market round up: ECB impact muted
Faced with growing evidence that issuers were gaming the scheme, the European Central Bank has finally tweaked the collateral requirements for its repo liquidity programme. Haircuts for ABS and unsecured bank bonds have been increased, the former up from 2% to 12%. This brings the scheme into line with Bank of England and Federal Reserve rules – but in reality makes ECB rules more stringent as the maturities on offer are shorter. The ECB has also tightened the close-link rules so that ABS collateral for which the seller is also swap counterparty is disallowed. Seller liquidity support of more than 20% has also been axed. The rules are likely to have an impact on smaller banks that have relied on ECB liquidity but analysts at Deutsche Bank calculate that the incremental cost to banks following the haircut change is 50 basis points. This means that the ECB window is still the most cost-efficient funding channel available to banks if maturity is not a consideration. "This change alone is unlikely to compel many banks to return to the securitization capital markets," conclude the DB analysts.