ECB 'ready and waiting' to oversee banks
The European Central Bank (ECB) could take on the key role of supervising the eurozone's strained banking system very quickly if necessary, a German financial daily reported on Tuesday.
"The institution is credible, it could do it and quickly," French central bank head Christian Noyer told Tuesday's edition of Germany's Handelsblatt business daily.
"All we need is a plan for overall supervision of the eurozone banks. It that was ready today, then you could put it into effect tomorrow," he said.
The new regulator would provide direct help for the banks, rather than to governments, so avoiding the problem of adding to their already large debt which has added to the pressures against member states on the financial markets.
The details of the system – expected to be operational by the end of this year – remain to be agreed but most EU states favour the ECB as taking on the new role, rather than set up a new body altogether.
At a June summit hailed as a breakthrough by EU leaders, the bloc agreed to set up a new centralised European banking regulator which would oversee bank restructuring and recapitalisation.
Noyer also told the Handelsblatt that all of Europe's banks, not just the most important, should be included, given the experience of the eurozone debt crisis.
"We do find ourselves in this position not because of the biggest, systemically important banks but because of the small- and medium-sized banks on their domestic market," he told the newspaper.
Later this week, eurozone ministers are expected to sign a deal to provide up to €100 billion direct to Spain's struggling banks in return for sector reforms and oversight.