EBF Preliminary views on Banking Union and deposit insurance

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1 EBF_016371F 4 November 2015 EBF Preliminary views on Banking Union and deposit insurance Background In 2009, the European Commission consulted on the recast of the Deposit Guarantee Schemes Directive (DGSD) where the concept of a single pan-european Deposit Guarantee Scheme (DGS) was discussed for the first time. However, while the Commission s proposal did not include a single DGS, a system of voluntary borrowing between DGSs was introduced in Article 12 of the DGSD which came into force in In the context of the Banking Union, a single DGS was proposed alongside a Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) and Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM) in the European Council Report Towards a Genuine Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) (June 2012). As a matter of priority the SSM and SRM were created. In the meantime policy-makers decided to adopt the DGS Directive, based on national DGSs, thus postponing the debate on the need for a single DGS within the euro area. The Five Presidents Report Completing Europe's Economic and Monetary Union 1 (22 June 2015) reintroduced the proposal for a European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS). The report sees the current set-up with only national DGSs vulnerable to large local shocks and considers that an EDIS would increase the resilience against future crises. According to the report, a common scheme is also more likely to be fiscally neutral over time than national DGSs because risks are spread more widely and private contributions are raised over a much larger pool of financial institutions. The report acknowledges that setting up an EDIS would take time, but states that taking concrete steps in that direction is a priority. A possible option highlighted in the report is to devise the EDIS as a reinsurance system at the European level for the national schemes. Just like the Single Resolution Fund (SRF), the EDIS would be privately funded. Its scope would coincide with that of the SSM. No further details have been elaborated thus far. To give further clarity on the way forward, the EBF would welcome the European Commission to give its assessment about the need for an EDIS in a Banking Union context and, if found necessary, to propose a roadmap that shall guide the way forward to further harmonise and integrate DGSs at the Banking Union level, giving due consideration to the numerous, costly adjustments banks already have to make to implement the adopted overall reform package. To this end, the EBF has concerns regarding the speed and procedure of the envisaged implementation of an EDIS (even only as a re-insurance system) and considers the publication of any legislative proposal at this stage without a wider stakeholder consultation and thorough impact assessment premature. The following considerations set out in detail below should be carefully reflected upon. General Comments The EBF supports the creation of the Banking Union and the objective of breaking the feedback loop between sovereign debt crises and banking crises. The EBF also welcomes the Five Presidents vision of a stable Economic and Monetary Union. Moving towards a common deposit insurance scheme may be appropriate to overcome the remaining fragmentation inside the Banking Union, since the persistence of national DGSs could perpetuate the perception of a link between each banking system and its 1 European Banking Federation aisbl 56 Avenue des Arts, B-1000 Brussels Phone: Website: - EU Transparency register ID number Page 1 of 6

2 sovereign. In that light, it is important to properly assess the need and prerequisites for such a system. If considered necessary, it should be carefully contemplated what the most suitable design of such a system should be, given the diversity of current schemes across Member States, large differences between Member States in terms of pre-funding rates and the different level of consolidation of national banking markets. Additionally, EBF members consider that the Banking Union needs to be strengthened and that the regulatory framework, especially the DGSD, needs to be sufficiently implemented before an EDIS can be developed. Concurrently, steps should be taken to investigate in detail the level of mutualisation of risk and cooperation that is acceptable between national DGSs in the event of liquidation of a credit institution within the Banking Union. The supervisory role of the ECB requires an adequate solution in the Eurozone for bank-failures that is consistent and accountable vis a vis the single supervisory mechanism thus preventing that national governments and systems have to step in for supervisory failures in the Banking Union. When thinking about DGS or EDIS within the Banking Union the following considerations should be taken into account: The EU Banking Sector has become more resilient The EBF finds the Five Presidents Report s statement that the EU financial supervision and stability framework finalised last year remains vulnerable to large local shocks premature given that the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) and the DGSD are still being implemented and in some cases (with regard to the DGSD even most) have not yet been transposed into national laws. Making such a statement risks sending the wrong message to depositors and investors. The EBF affirms that safeguards, as evidenced by the most recent Asset Quality Review (AQR) and EUwide Stress Tests end of last year, in the EU, and even more so in the Banking Union, are now significantly strengthened via the capital requirements (CRR), Recovery and Resolution Framework (BRRD), Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) and the Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM). Increased capital and liquidity requirements in tandem with recovery plans and enhanced centralised supervision, as manifested by the Supervisory Review and Evaluation Process (SREP), form a credible first line of defence. Furthermore, the BRRD and the SRM are a watershed in dealing with bank failures as they ensure early intervention and resolution tools that guarantee continuity of access for depositors and critical payment services. Bail-in with depositor preference for natural persons and SME deposits as well as a super senior status for DGSs (in place of insured deposits) significantly limits the recourse to public funds, resolution funds and deposit insurance funds in resolution. Thus, it needs to be carefully assessed what the future role of DGSs are in managing bank failures (see below). The role of DGSs in the new crisis management framework In the EBF s view the pay-out role of DGSs is diminishing and this should be taken into account when assessing the need for an EDIS. In addition, this diminished role should be reflected in a lower target level for DGS fund(s). Traditionally and under the new Banking Union/BRRD framework DGSs are more geared to absorb the impact of the default of domestic institutions, since cross-border and large domestic institutions will generally be resolved instead of liquidated. However, in the BRRD framework DGSs also have a role in bail-in as they may step in to cover losses instead of insured depositors (albeit as super senior creditors). Despite the future existence of MREL, and despite its super senior ranking in the priority order of bailin, DGSs might in some rare circumstances be used before the Single Resolution Fund. Page 2 of 6

3 Currently DGSs are in place as a last resort tool but vary substantially with regard to their mandate. In some jurisdictions they act as a risk or loss minimiser while in others they are limited to a pay-box only function. As DGSs often play only a last resort tool for financing depositor pay-outs or transferring deposit books in a resolution, policymakers should clearly assess the loss given default (LGD) to DGSs in the context of the new supervisory and financial stability mechanism in the Banking Union framework. Resolution plans, the Minimum Requirement for own funds and eligible liabilities (MREL) and the FSB s Total Loss Absorbing Capacity (TLAC) for G-SIBs as well as depositor preference ranking in bail-in should also be taken into account when assessing the role and scope of DGSs in the future. The framework for coordination and cooperation among DGSs should be developed to complement the common supervisory framework and to support liquidation and depositor pay-out where deemed appropriate. Fragmentation in view of an incomplete Banking Union In a year, the SSM has already managed to a great extent disentangle national bias in banking supervision. However, some tensions remain between national and European authorities about their competences relating to the treatment of deposits in the case of failure where smaller banks are under national supervision (although the ECB has the ultimate responsibility on the Banking Union level). In addition, all banks are affected by national economic policies and national legislation concerning e.g. insolvency procedures and accounting requirements. As long as the national governments and national deposit insurances are the back-stops to banks, the link between banks and sovereigns will remain. Consequently, banks risk, funding costs, and performance of banks may depend on national policies. Furthermore, as long as national resources are at stake, national authorities may be reticent to allow for a free movement of liquidity and deposit funds across member states, and could have incentives to introduce measures to hold deposits within national borders (such as liquidity ring-fencing). Free movement of deposit funds is essential to guarantee efficient allocation of capital within the EMU, and any step towards further DGS harmonisation and cooperation among DGSs in the Banking Union would help to reduce regulatory deterrents to further integration of the banking market in Europe. Indeed, by facilitating the free movement of funding within the euro area, this would also support the objectives of the Capital Markets Union. Better Regulation and Jobs and Growth Agenda Given the specific role of DGSs, as explained above, it should be thoroughly assessed what form of an EDIS could be in line with the European Commission s Better Regulation and Jobs and Growth Agenda as well as the Banking Union and single market framework. To this end time is needed to sufficiently implement the DGSD and to evaluate its results. We further recommend for the Commission to conduct an in-depth impact assessment once all (or at least most) Member States have transposed the DGSD, taking into account the principles of proportionality and subsidiarity. Above all, any EDIS mechanism should be simple and transparent, and avoid complexity. It should be clarified how an EDIS with limited jurisdiction for the Banking Union can be designed to be compliant with the aim of increasing the resilience for the whole of the EU Banking Sector. It should be taken into consideration that the DGSD explicitly in Article 19 (5) states, [B]y 3 July 2019, the Commission shall submit a report, and, if appropriate, a legislative proposal to the European Parliament and the Council setting out how DGSs operating in the Union may cooperate through a European scheme to prevent risks arising from cross-border activities and protect deposits from such risks. Page 3 of 6

4 Moral Hazard Moral hazard issues must be considered when the need and possible design of an EDIS is contemplated. If risks are not sufficiently mutualised, some fragmentation in the banking system would remain. If, on the other hand, risks are excessively mutualised, an EDIS may create disincentives for banks and national authorities participating in the system, leading to an unfair allocation of burden. Hence, an EDIS may present risks of moral hazard as Member States are incentivised to rely on external help, rather than to establish well capitalised, steady and effective DGSs at the national level. Limits to bank financing and doubling up of DGS contributions On the design of the EDIS, the Five Presidents Report suggests that it should be devised as a privately funded re-insurance system. If an EDIS is considered necessary, given that DGSs are already privately funded, it should be ensured that national DGSs contribute to the EDIS thus keeping overall DGS contributions at the level already decided by the legislator, and promoting simplicity. In assessing the need for an EDIS, the European Commission should explore a broad range of alternative options over the short, medium and long term to balance the need to achieve a higher level of mutualisation and the impact on banks ability to lend. In any case, further burdens on top of current requirements to contribute to national DGS should be avoided, so that the overall financial charge on banks is not increased. Timing The EBF, while welcoming the Report s ambitions to complete the Banking Union, considers that policy makers should allow more time for the DGSD to be sufficiently implemented across the EU and to conduct a thorough impact assessment and stakeholder consultation on the different policy options for an EDIS. More importantly steps should be taken in the short term to strengthen cooperation and coordination among participating Member States in the Banking Union (in response to the new role of the ECB as ultimate responsible for banking supervision within the SSM). Also, priority should be given to the building-up of resolution financing arrangements for the SRM (according to the agreed timetable i.e. the SRF). As the current landscape of banking systems is still eminently local, national discretions and options are widely used and national insolvency laws still show substantial differences even within the Member States participating in the SSM, any specific proposals for developing the Banking Union further should carefully balance the long-term objective and the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. Building blocks and principles for developing an EDIS Before developing an EDIS the EBF considers that the following issues should be addressed: A full impact assessment and cost benefit analysis should be performed informing the need for an EDIS as well as possible design options with respect to the current regulatory and supervisory framework. A strengthened single supervisor. Currently, direct supervision of smaller banks is the responsibility of national authorities, even though the ECB has ultimate responsibility for the whole system. Since less significant institutions are more likely to be in the scope of a deposit insurance pay-out under the DGSD, further convergence of supervisory practices is required before an EDIS can be developed, to ensure a level playing field and to avoid moral hazard. A fully functioning SRM. The bail-in tool must be fully operational and resolution financing and backstop financing should be substantially in place. In its impact assessment, the Commission should take into account the number of banks likely to be subject to resolution tools or DGS payout/financing. Page 4 of 6

5 A fully implemented Single Rulebook for: o Recovery and resolution: BRRD rules need to be transposed in all participating Member States. o Deposit insurance: DGSD needs to be sufficiently implemented, including fast pay-out and ex-ante funding. Further harmonisation of the DGS mandate for early intervention and resolution as well as other current national discretions (a.o. emergency pay-out, temporary high balances etc.) should be envisaged to ensure a consistent application of DGS tools to bank insolvencies. Disparities in the starting point of the build-up of national DGS funding must be considered. The system should ensure an equal footing in terms of available resolution and DGS funding. The DGSD allows for a variety of options resulting in significant differences regarding the target levels. Also, there may still be, among banks that were not subject to an Asset Quality Review (AQR), substantial legacy costs from the past crisis which must be handled. Therefore, banks which have not been subject to an AQR yet should be subjected to one in advance if an EDIS is introduced. An AQR of participating banks would allow a clear assessment of European Banks situation and help resolve any capital shortfall. Harmonisation of related national laws. National laws on insolvency should be further harmonised to ensure that the use of funds during a pay-out and the treatment of DGS claims in insolvency proceedings in Member States are compatible. Should an EDIS be finally developed, the EBF urges policy-makers to adopt the following principles: There should be no doubling of overall contributions to two separate funds at national and Banking Union level. Instead, financing should be based on contributions collected from all participating national DGSs and not directly from banks. The overall combined maximum target fund level should remain unchanged i.e. it should remain at 0.8% of covered deposits. All banks collecting deposits should contribute to the funding to their respective national schemes and thereby indirectly to an EDIS, i.e. the EDIS funding target level and allocation of contributions should duly reflect the scope of institutions which would benefit from the EDIS. In particular, no exceptions should be made for specific banks depending on their affiliation to certain parts of the banking sector. Consequently, suggestions by Mr Juncker during an event hosted by the German regional newspaper "Passauer Neue Presse" on 8 October 2015 to exempt savings and cooperative banks from their obligation to contribute to the funding or any other exemptions are not acceptable. DGS financing should generally be based on fair and risk-based contributions calculated with respect to covered deposits. In order to avoid moral hazard issues there should be a first tranche of losses borne by the national DGS before an EDIS intervention. In this way national DGSs will be able to deal with the failures of single domestic banks. There should be a ceiling or cap on interventions by the EDIS (a limit to the amount that the EDIS pays out.) EDIS should be clearly integrated in the Banking Union framework such that the scope of banks mirrors closely the scope of the single supervisory and resolution mechanism. EDIS should adhere to the least-cost (to the DGS) principle embedded in the DGSD when deciding on DGS or resolution actions. A common backstop needs to be available to all Member States participating in the Banking Union and to their DGSs. Mutualisation should be phased in with fund build-up in jurisdiction ensuring a level playing field until all funds are fully build up. Page 5 of 6

6 In assessing the need for an EDIS, the European Commission should explore a broad range of alternative options over the short, medium and long term to balance the need to achieve a higher level of mutualisation and the impact on banks ability to lend. Conclusion and priorities An EDIS would only make sense within the Banking Union (rather than EU-wide) as it would complement the single supervisory and resolution mechanisms. Moving towards a common deposit insurance scheme may be appropriate to overcome fragmentation inside the Banking Union, since the persistence of national DGS could perpetuate the perception of a close link between each banking system and its sovereign. However, a number of prerequisites would need to be met as outlined above and the benefits of having an EDIS would need to be clearly examined, in accordance with the proportionality and subsidiarity principles. The reflections on an EDIS should take into account the capability of the single supervisor and crossborder bank resolution framework to apply consistent rules and outcomes. Given the current status of the implementation of the SSM, SRM, DGSD and Single Rulebook, as well as the potential for remaining legacy costs of past years crisis, the EBF considers that more time is needed before establishing a fullyfledged EDIS within the euro area. The EBF believes that the Commission should first seek more harmonisation of national DGSs and further foster cooperation and borrowing agreements between national systems proportional to the current framework, while further investigating the optimal choice for a single DGS in the long term - including its structure and mandate in the wider prudential and crisis management framework. At the same time, the European Commission should carefully explore the possible options and merits of taking a gradual approach towards an EDIS as long as other priorities are not neglected. In its assessment it should be analysed how an EDIS could strengthen confidence in the current system of national DGS. In the short term, the EBF urges policy makers to remain focused on developing and finalising EU banking supervision tools for cross-border financial crisis prevention, early intervention and resolution. The EBF also supports a swift implementation of the DGSD (with further harmonisation of DGS mandates, faster pay-out, common coverage level and the build-up of ex-ante funds) as well as the development of cooperation and voluntary lending agreements between national DGSs at EU level. Depositors across the EU need to be made aware that their money is protected to the same level regardless of where they deposited it, thereby ensuring depositor confidence and thus contributing to financial stability and the integration of banking markets. Against this backdrop, when planning the development of an EDIS key issues need to be addressed beforehand. An EDIS needs to be complemented with a level playing field in terms of legacy costs of the past years crises, build-up of current DGSs and in terms of funding resources with adequate centralised backstops and a clear framework for burden sharing. Page 6 of 6

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