The Real Cause of the Italian Bank Bailouts and Euro Banking Troubles

The clear winner of the banking union has been the German banking system: All German banks, but especially the small and medium ones, who benefitted from the establishment of a 30 billion euro balance sheet floor for banks to be subjected to ECB supervision. To obtain such condition as part of the first pillar, German minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble threatened to veto the banking union project as a whole, and it is no mystery that he was thinking precisely about banks such as the relative small Sparkassen (savings banks).

Of the 417 Sparkassen, only one is under the supervision of the ECB today; we are talking about banks that count for the 22.3% of the loans in that country for a total of 1000 billion euro.

But this is not the only way these public banks, traditionally tied to the German ruling party CDU, were protected. At least two other ways deserve mention.

The first is how the so-called Institutional Protection Schemes (IPS) were kept outside the European regulation. IPS are systems of mutual protection and guarantees of the associate banks, regulated via a contract. They exist in Germany (Sparkassen and Volksbanken), Austria (Raiffeisen banks) and Spain (saving banks). IPS aren‘t banking groups, nor banks networks. Hence, they are not directly under the European discipline—the European Directive on capital requirements [CRD IV] does not even mention them—nor the Basel Accords. This is how Thomas Stern, expert for banking regulation at the Austrian Financial Markets Authorities, characterized the situation: “The decision of the European legislator to not extend the regulation about capital and liquidity to the IPS is remarkable and hard to understand from a prudential point of view.” Stern wrote these lines in 2014, but the situation is hardly improved since then.

via The Real Cause of the Italian Bank Bailouts and Euro Banking Troubles

Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
%d bloggers like this: