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Working Paper

The vulnerability of Europe’s small and medium-sized banks

Stress tests show significant weaknesses in Europe's small and medium-sized banks. Strengthening the banking system is important to achieve a sustainable recovery because it will revitalise credit to the healthier segments of the economy. But instead of emphasising bank recapitalisation, we believe the task is to shrink the banking sector to a healthier core.

By: and Date: July 15, 2015 Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation

We study the vulnerability of 130 banks directly supervised by the European Central Bank’s Single Supervisory Mechanism. Illustrative stress tests using banks’ balance sheet data reveal that significant stress prevails in the euro area’s smaller and medium-sized banks, many of them located in southern Europe. The banks we identify as stressed also have performed substantially worse on the stock market. The vulnerable banks are typically hobbled by non-performing loans to European businesses.

Strengthening the banking system, therefore, is important to achieve sustainable recovery because it will revitalise credit to the healthier segments of the economy. But instead of emphasising bank recapitalisation, as in past years, we believe the task is to shrink the banking sector to a healthier core.

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Policy Contribution

Precautionary recapitalisation: time for a review?

While precautionary recapitalisation is a legitimate instrument for bank crisis management, the conditions set for it by BRRD (Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive) are restrictive and have so far been effective to prevent its inappropriate use on insolvent banks. Nevertheless, the European Stability Mechanism should be empowered to participate in future precautionary recapitalisations.

By: Nicolas Véron Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: July 13, 2017
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External Publication

Precautionary recapitalisations: time for a review

Precautionary recapitalisation, a tool for public intervention in the banking sector defined in the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD), is a legitimate instrument for bank crisis management. The conditions set for it by BRRD are restrictive and have so far been effective to prevent its inappropriate use on insolvent banks. Outside of the scope of BRRD, the co-legislators should consider a reform of the EU audit framework to improve audit quality, and the European Stability Mechanism should be empowered to participate in future precautionary recapitalisations.

By: Nicolas Véron Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: July 12, 2017
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Policy Contribution

A macro approach to international bank resolution

As regulators rush to strengthen banking supervision and implement bank resolution regimes, a macro approach to resolution is needed that considers both the contagion effects of bail-in and the continuing need for a fiscal backstop to the financial system. This can be facilitated through the completion of a banking union in which the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) becomes the fiscal backstop to the euro-area banking system.

By: Dirk Schoenmaker Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: July 10, 2017
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Blog Post

A tangled tale of bank liquidation in Venice

What can we learn about the Italian banking sector from the decision to liquidate Veneto Banca and Banca Popolare di Vicenza? Silvia Merler sees a tendency for Italy to let politics outweigh economics.

By: Silvia Merler Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: June 26, 2017
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Past Event

Past Event

Bail-ins and bank resolution in Europe

This invitation-only event will feature a presentation by Thomas Philippon of a report on bail-ins and bank resolution in Europe. Failed financial firms should not be bailed out by the taxpayers. Europe, unfortunately, has a weak track record of following this principle of good governance and sound economic policy. The banking union, with its new […]

Speakers: Thomas Philippon Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: June 19, 2017
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Policy Contribution

German Bundestag

Charting the next steps for the EU financial supervisory architecture

The combination of banking union and Brexit justifies a reform of the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) in the near term, in line with the subsidiarity principle and the accountability of EBA and ESMA and their scrutiny by the European Parliament should be enhanced as a key element of their governance reform.

By: Nicolas Véron Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation, German Bundestag Date: June 7, 2017
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Policy Contribution

The governance and ownership of significant euro-area banks

This Policy Contribution shows that listed banks with dispersed ownership are the exception rather than the rule among the euro area’s significant banks, especially beyond the very largest banking groups. The bulk of these significant banks are government-owned or cooperatives, or influenced by large shareholders, or prone to direct political influence.

By: Nicolas Véron Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation Date: May 30, 2017
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External Publication

Les banques européennes se retirent-elles de la scène internationale?

Dirk Schoenmaker conducts a comparative analysis of global systemically important banks (G-SIBs) and examines their evolution (Note: this paper is available only in French).

By: Dirk Schoenmaker Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: May 23, 2017
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Podcast

Podcast

How will Europe's banking system respond to future challenges?

After the financial crisis, the EU has taken measures to create conditions for a safer banking sector. One of the key measures to do that is the creation of the banking union. How successful has the implementation of the new framework been so far? How will issues in the Italian banking sector be addressed? And how will Brexit change the European banking sector?

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: May 5, 2017
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External Publication

The Banking Union: An Overview and Open Issues

Dirk Schoenmaker's chapter in 'The Palgrave Handbook of European Banking', a handbook that collates the expertise and research of leading academic and senior policy makers in the field of European banking

By: Dirk Schoenmaker Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: May 2, 2017
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Blog Post

EBA relocation should support a long-term ‘twin peaks’ vision

As the Commission launches a review of European financial supervision, the authors argue that Europe needs to move towards a twin peaks model – dividing supervision of prudential and conduct-of-business issues. But this is a long-term vision, and will require institution building. The immediate priorities are to choose a new home for the EBA and reinforce ESMA.

By: Dirk Schoenmaker and Nicolas Véron Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: April 5, 2017
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Blog Post

Italian banks: not quiet on the eastern front

Italian banks are back in the spotlight. After MPS failed to raise enough capital from private investors earlier this year, Banco Popolare di Vicenza (BPVI) and Veneto Banca take centre stage. The story of these two banks epitomises the strategy of delayed reform that has been so characteristic of the Italian banking crisis.

By: Silvia Merler Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: March 31, 2017
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