Eurozone bank supervision possible ‘quickly’

PARIS — Unifying banking supervision in the eurozone can be done “quickly” and would best be handled by the European Central Bank, Bank of France chief and ECB board member Christian Noyer said on Monday.

By (AFP)

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Published: Tue 10 Jul 2012, 5:32 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 12:22 PM

“It is possible quickly to integrate the banking supervisory systems of eurozone member states in a unique ensemble,” Noyer said in the introductory letter to the Bank of France annual report.

Noyer said that the new regulatory mechanism should be based on the eurosystem, the network of national central banks undergirding the European Central Bank.

For Noyer, the eurosystem could provide “the same balance between centralisation and decentralisation” to a eurozone-wide banking supervisor, a proposal made by eurozone leaders at a summit on June 29.

Noyer also said the the decision by the ECB last week to cut overnight deposit rates for banks to zero percent was mainly intended to spur lending by private banks which have cut back loan activity to strengthen their balance sheets.

By reducing the attractiveness of parking cash at the ECB, Noyer said the central bank had “taken an important step towards discouraging banks from bringing us their liquidity (and) to encourage them to be more active in regards to distributing credit.”

Since the ECB launched a two waves of long-term refinancing operations or LTRO last winter, European banks have been depositing about 800 billion euros every day at the Frankfurt-based central bank.

The ECB had hoped banks would lend the LTRO funds to businesses and households and keep credit flowing in the debt-wracked eurozone economy.

But instead the cash does not appear to be trickling through into the real economy, recent data suggest, with lending by eurozone banks to the private sector contracting in May.

However demand for sovereign bonds from Germany and France spiked sharply since the ECB provided extra liquidity.

Also, some eurozone countries in difficulty are able to sell very short-term debt, for which redemption appears to be low risk. The latest example was Greece on Tuesday.

On Monday, the French government borrowed for the first time at negative rates, meaning that investors in effect paid to lend to France.

The French government raised almost 6.0 billion euros ($7.4 billion) in short-term debt at minus 0.05 percent and minus 0.06 percent.

Noyer said France borrowing at these rates demonstrated a “certain dysfunction in the markets.”

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