WASHINGTON - Almost as soon as the news broke that some of the largest U.S. banks had agreed to create a fund to relieve problems in the commercial paper market, proponents of the Basel II capital accords began arguing that the situation would have looked significantly different had the new standards already been in place.

But after interviews with Basel II consultants, regulators, and industry representatives, it appears any differences are much more likely to affect European banks, not American ones. What follows are some of the questions central to the discussion of the subject, with answers that represent the current thinking of some of the people most familiar with the issue.

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