Tier 1 capital

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Tier 1 capital is the core measure of a bank's financial strength from a regulator's point of view. It is composed of core capital, which consists primarily of common stock and disclosed reserves (or retained earnings), but may also include non-redeemable non-cumulative preferred stock.

Capital in this sense is related to, but different from, the accounting concept of shareholders' equity. Both Tier 1 and Tier 2 capital were first defined in the Basel I capital accord and remained substantially the same in the replacement Basel II accord. Tier 2 capital is senior to Tier 1, but subordinate to deposits and the deposit insurer's claims. These include preferred stock with fixed maturities and long-term debt with minimum maturities of over five years.

Each country's banking regulator, however, has some discretion over how differing financial instruments may count in a capital calculation. This is appropriate, as the legal framework varies in different legal systems.

The theoretical reason for holding capital is that it should provide protection against unexpected losses. Note that this is...
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