Germany, France and the U.K. jointly called for levies on banks' balance sheets in an attempt to overcome opposition to the proposal by other members of the Group of 20 nations before this week's summit.
On Tuesday U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron's government announced a bank levy as part of that country's biggest peacetime deficit reduction. France and Germany are also finalizing details of their own bank taxes, according to a joint statement issued by Germany.
"All three levies will aim to ensure that banks make a fair contribution to reflect the risks they pose to the financial system and wider economy and to encourage banks to adjust their balance sheets to reduce this risk," the e-mailed statement from the Finance Ministry in Berlin said.
G-20 ministers failed this month to agree on a global bank levy that's promoted by the U.S. and European countries and opposed by countries whose banks fared better in the financial crisis, such as Canada and Brazil. The European Union has promised to push for the plan at the G-20 summit in Toronto.
A unified position is not necessary, a senior U.S. official said Monday. U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has backed an overarching agreement among the G-20 to make banks pay for the cost of government support, while allowing countries to differ on implementation.
The U.K. said Tuesday that it will impose a tax on bank balance sheets from next year that would generate 2 billion pounds ($3 billion) in annual revenue. The levy would be set at 0.04% in 2011, before increasing to 0.07%.
Germany laid out its framework in March for a bank levy that would generate more than 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) for a dedicated fund.
France has said it will channel whatever revenue is raised from the levy into the budget.