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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 Finance & Financial Regulation Tags & Topics

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

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What are the prerequisites for a euro-area fiscal capacity?

In this Policy Contribution, Maria Demertzsis and Guntram B. Wolff discuss three progressive steps for strengthening the fiscal framework at the euro-area level. These lead to less interference in national fiscal policymaking thanks to a more credible no-bailout clause, increased risk sharing and different degrees of provision of euro-area-wide public goods and fiscal stabilisation.

By: Maria Demertzis and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: September 9, 2016
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Blog Post

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Losing “EU passport” would damage City of London

If the UK cannot secure a “Norway” deal and stay within the internal market, the UK will lose the passporting rights which make London attractive as a financial centre. The macroeconomic fall-out from Brexit has also damaged the performance of banks and insurers.

By: Dirk Schoenmaker Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: June 28, 2016
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Past Event

Past Event

European banking supervision: the first eighteen months

After its first 18 months, how has the SSM affected the European banking system?

Speakers: Mario Nava, Dirk Schoenmaker, Nicolas Véron, Pieter Verheugd and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: June 14, 2016
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Past Event

Past Event

The Spanish financial crisis: Lessons for the European banking union

Spain is among the countries still recovering from the financial crisis. While misjudged investments were part of the cause, these past mistakes could offer lessons for the European banking union.

Speakers: Miguel Otero-Iglesias, Federico Steinberg, Pia Hüttl and Stefano Neri Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: June 9, 2016
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Nicolas Véron

European banking supervision: compelling start, lingering challenges

The new European banking supervision system is broadly effective and, in line with the claim often made by its leading officials, tough and fair, but there are significant areas for future improvement.

By: Dirk Schoenmaker and Nicolas Véron Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: June 8, 2016
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Blueprint

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European banking supervision: the first eighteen months

The Blueprint provides a review of the first 18 months of European banking supervision. It reviews the overall situation and the situation in a number of euro-area countries. It provides important insights into the start of a new policy regime that involves profound change for the European banking landscape

By: Dirk Schoenmaker and Nicolas Véron Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: June 8, 2016
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Blog Post

Guntram B. Wolff
European Parliament

The European Deposit Insurance Scheme

Statement prepared for the European Parliament’s ECON Committee Public Hearing of 23 May.

By: Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, European Parliament, Parliamentary Testimonies Date: May 23, 2016
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Blog Post

Silvia Merler

Italy's Atlas bank bailout fund: the shareholder of last resort

Italy’s new bank fund Atlas might be what is needed in the short run, but in the longer term the fund will increase systemic risk. What ultimately matters is how this initiative will affect the quality of bank governance, a key issue for the future resilience of the system.

By: Silvia Merler Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: April 22, 2016
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Opinion

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Beatrice Weder di Mauro
Guntram B. Wolff

Mere criticism of the ECB is no solution

What would happen if the ECB failed to respond to the excessively low inflation and the weak economy? And what economic policy would be suitable under the current circumstances, if not monetary policy?

By: Marcel Fratzscher, Reint Gropp, Hans-Helmut Kotz, Jan Krahnen, Christian Odendahl, Beatrice Weder di Mauro and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: April 10, 2016
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Past Event

Past Event

Stability of EMU and prospects for fiscal union

How can Europe make progress with EMU and move towards a Fiscal Union?

Speakers: Fernando Fernandez, Pia Hüttl, José Leandro, Javier Méndez Llera, Fernando Navarrete and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: March 9, 2016
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Blog Post

Nicolas Véron

Market turbulence highlights bumpy transition to Europe’s new bank policy regime

Concerns about Europe’s banks contributed to turmoil in global financial markets in February, but Europe’s new banking sector policy regime should gradually help reduce uncertainty.

By: Nicolas Véron and Bruegel Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: March 8, 2016
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Policy Contribution

The United States dominates global investment banking: does it matter for Europe?

The United States dominates global investment banking: does it matter for Europe?

Europe’s banks are in retreat from playing a global investment banking role, and this trend is likely to continue in the future. What will be the consequences and what should be the policy response?

By: Charles Goodhart and Dirk Schoenmaker Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation, Global Economics & Governance Date: March 7, 2016
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