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German Banks Push for ECB to Become Region’s Sole Regulator

The BdB German Banking Association, which represents Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG, wants the European Central Bank to have sole responsibility for regulatory supervision of all euro-region banks.

“The supervisory tasks currently performed by national banking regulators should be shifted completely to the ECB,” the association said in a statement today. “A legally independent unit should be created under the roof of the ECB and overseen politically by the EU level.”

European Union leaders agreed on June 29 to give the ECB new banking supervision powers as part of a commitment to a “banking union” and called on the European Commission to make such a proposal by September. According to a policy-planning document previously obtained by Bloomberg, it is unclear how much authority the ECB will get. One option would allow the ECB to take major oversight decisions for all banks, while another would be to give it a core set of central powers to oversee all banks while delegating some tasks to individual countries.

“If calling for a strong Europe, one has to be ready to transfer certain competencies to the European level,” Andreas Schmitz, the association’s president, said in the statement. “Without being willing to do that, the idea of a true banking union in Europe will remain incomplete.”

The same rules should apply for all lenders as the Spanish savings-bank crisis showed again it isn’t predictable which banks pose a threat to stability, according to the release. The German Banking Association’s proposal would mean the national regulator Bafin and Bundesbank would be subordinated to the ECB, serving as “country representatives” of the central bank, the association said.

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