EU’s Small Lenders Will Learn From ECB Oversight, EBF Head Says

Banks across the European Union will benefit as the European Central Bank takes over direct supervision of about 130 lenders in November, said the new head of the European Banking Federation.

“The process that the first 130 banks are going through is exuding on the others,” Wim Mijs, the 50-year-old Dutchman who will head the Brussels-based EBF from September, said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg News today. “We should avoid the feeling that two speeds are arising,” said Mijs, whose appointment was approved by the EBF board in Athens.

Mijs will succeed Belgian Guido Ravoet two months before the ECB becomes the currency bloc’s direct supervisor of banks such as Deutsche Bank AG and BNP Paribas SA, while national regulators will monitor smaller institutions. Both supervisors and firms involved are currently rushing to complete an in-depth health check before November.

Mijs, director of the Dutch Banking Association since 2007, was on the EBF’s executive committee until January and helped set up a Single Supervisory Mechanism strategy group for the 130 banks facing ECB supervision.

“That took some debate, it had to be clear there would be transparency to avoid other banks getting the feeling they were put on the sideline,” Mijs said. The strategy group works for everyone as banks the ECB won’t supervise directly get a sense of the developments through the EBF, he said.

The EBF, founded in 1960, represents 4,500 European lenders through its 32 national banking association members. The banks account for more than 80 percent of total assets and deposits in the EU, according to EBF’s website.

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