ECB Faces Bankers Venting Concerns on Balance Sheet Health Check

European Central Bank officials are being lobbied by bankers today over the complexity of gathering data for the health check of the region’s lenders and how to disclose the results, according to a briefing note obtained by Bloomberg News.

The European Banking Federation has nine main issues to address with officials at a meeting of the so-called “SSM Strategy Group,” the document dated March 27 shows. An accompanying agenda says the gathering was set take place at the Frankfurt headquarters of Commerzbank AG, with Jukka Vesala, a director general in the ECB’s Single Supervisory Mechanism, scheduled to speak before it concludes at 4 p.m.

Banks across the euro area are undergoing the unprecedented review of assets as part of preparations for a new single supervisory body led by the Frankfurt-based central bank. The exercise, aimed at restoring confidence in bank balance sheets in order to spur lending to the economy, is due to culminate in a stress test based on the new asset data with complete results to be published in October.

Raymond Frenken, a spokesman for the EBF, which represents lobby groups for the region’s lenders, said that the organization won’t comment on specific elements of the ECB’s asset quality review such as the timing of meetings or individual documents. An ECB spokeswoman didn’t immediately comment on the document or today’s meeting.

The EBF document says the exercise should limit data requests to “make the exercise more workable and robust” by striking a balance “between feasibility of the exercise, timeline and data quality.” It calls for a simplification of data templates, raises concerns about possible deviations of the AQR’s findings with banks’ published reports, and questions whether the procedure means assets are stressed twice.

It also requests “more efficient” ways of provide up-to-date valuation of collateral, a major sticking point between the banks and the ECB so far.

To contact the reporters on this story: Sonia Sirletti in Milan at; Boris Groendahl in Vienna at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at Craig Stirling, Edward Evans

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