Opinion

Why euro-zone ‘outs’ should join banking union

Joining the banking union could provide a stable arrangement for managing financial stability for the UK and other non-Euro countries.

By: and Date: February 11, 2016 Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance

In the furore over Brexit, observers have overlooked the benefits that banking union could bring to the UK and other euro-zone ‘outs’.

During the financial crisis, European leaders agreed to create a banking union that would break the link between failing banks and sovereigns. Although it is usually seen as a euro-zone initiative, joining banking union could also provide a stable arrangement for managing financial stability for the UK and other non-Euro countries.

At the moment London is not only an international financial centre, but also the gateway to Europe for the large US and Swiss investment banks. Such banks use their UK banking licence as a passport for their operations throughout the European Union.

Brexit would make this arrangement impossible.  There is already speculation that international banks might move their European headquarters from London to Dublin, Frankfurt, or even Amsterdam.

All large European banks have operations in London, including major banks like Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas and ING. In recent research we found evidence of strong cross-border banking claims, including for the United Kingdom.

The question is how to manage financial stability in the light of these interconnections. Outside the banking union, the governments of the euro-zone ‘outs’ are the ultimate fiscal backstop for their own banks, responsible for bailing them out in times of crisis.

For Sweden, that is the case for Nordea Bank, which has large operations in the banking union, in Finland and the Baltics. Sweden would have to finance a potential bailout on its own. In a similar way, the UK government is charged with ensuring the stability of the UK financial system.

Outside the banking union, the governments of the euro-zone ‘outs’ are responsible for bailing them out in times of crisis.

 

The global financial crisis has shown that such a backstop function can be costly for governments, but they could manage financial stability jointly within the banking union rather than independently.

National authorities would then share supervisory responsibility with the European Central Bank. The responsibility for resolution would rest with the new Single Resolution Board. Importantly, the Single Resolution Fund would facilitate burden sharing in a banking crisis.

The ‘outs’ could even join banking union without joining the euro.

The ‘outs’ could even join banking union without joining the euro. While banking union is mandatory for the euro countries, the ‘outs’ can opt-in. Opting-in makes sense for managing financial stability, as it would allow an integrated approach towards supervision, avoiding ring fencing of activities and therefore a higher cost of funding. It would also simplify bank resolution, avoiding coordination failure.


Republishing and referencing

Bruegel considers itself a public good and takes no institutional standpoint.

Due to copyright agreements we ask that you kindly email request to republish opinions that have appeared in print to communication@bruegel.org.

View comments
Read article Download PDF More on this topic More by this author

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
Read article Download PDF More on this topic

External Publication

Review of EU-third country cooperation on policies falling within the ITRE domain in relation to Brexit

What is the possible future relationship between the EU and the UK in light of Brexit? The report provides a critical assessment of the implications of existing models of cooperation between third countries and the European Union on energy, electronic communications, research policy and small business policy.

By: J. Scott Marcus, Georgios Petropoulos, André Sapir, Simone Tagliapietra, Alessio Terzi, Reinhilde Veugelers and Georg Zachmann Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: July 5, 2017
Read article More on this topic More by this author

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
Read article More on this topic

Blog Post

Can EU actors keep using common law after Brexit?

English common law is the choice of law for financial contracts, even for parties in EU members with civil law systems. This creates a lucrative legal sector in the UK, but Brexit could make UK court decisions difficult to enforce in the EU. Parties will be able to continue using English common law after Brexit, but how will these contracts be enforced? Some continental courts are preparing to make judicial decisions on common law cases in the English language.

By: Uuriintuya Batsaikhan and Dirk Schoenmaker Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: June 22, 2017
Read article More by this author

Parliamentary Testimony

House of Commons

Exiting the European Union Committee

On 19 April 2017 Zsolt Darvas appeared as a witness at the Exiting the European Union Committee, the House of Commons, United Kingdom.

By: Zsolt Darvas Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, House of Commons, Testimonies Date: June 20, 2017
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Brexit and the future of the Irish border

The future of the Irish land border has been thrown into uncertainty by Brexit. The UK's confirmation that it will leave the EU's single market and customs union implies that customs checks will be needed. However, there is little desire for hard controls from any of the parties involved. This is especially true for Theresa May's potential partner, the DUP. Creative solutions are needed to reach a solution.

By: Filippo Biondi Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: June 19, 2017
Read about event More on this topic

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
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Lessons for the future governance of financial assistance in the EU

On 14th June, Randall Henning will present his latest book on the Euro crisis and we will discuss how financial assistance should be governed in the euro area in the future.

Speakers: Servaas Deroose, C. Randall Henning, Rolf Strauch and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: June 14, 2017
Read article Download PDF More by this author

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
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Substance requirements for financial firms moving out from the UK

In the run-up to Brexit, UK-based financial firms are considering how to organize their operations across the future divide between the UK and EU27. This event will discuss the regulatory requirements on how self-sustaining the operations in the EU should be, and implications for the single market and third countries.

Speakers: Gerry Cross, Simon Gleeson and Nicolas Véron Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: June 2, 2017
Read article More by this author

Blog Post

Pharmaceutical industry at risk from Brexit

Pharmaceuticals are a hugely important industry for the EU and the UK. The sector creates thousands of jobs, billions of euros in exports, and is Europe’s most research-intense industry. But will Brexit mean for pharma? Border delays, disruption to R&D and regulatory divergence all pose hazards.

By: Jianwei Xu Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: May 31, 2017
Read article Download PDF More by this author

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
Load more posts