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G. Bruzzone, M. Cassella & S. Micossi: The EU Regulatory Framework for Bank Resolution

image-10/14/2015 - 11:17The financial crisis of 2008-09 and the ensuing sovereign debt and banking crises within the eurozone exposed the presence of massive moral hazard within banking systems, that led to over-borrowing and excessive risk-taking by many large banks. In order to avoid the meltdown of financial systems, national governments were forced to underpin the balance sheets of these banks and take up large losses, eventually borne by taxpayers. The regulatory response was masterminded at the international level by the G-20 and its offspring, the Financial Stability Board (FSB); it was mainly centred on improving the governance and risk management of the banks, reducing regulatory forbearance, and eliminating or at least greatly reducing legal and institutional incentives that had fostered excessive risk-taking. Among the latter measures, a paramount role would be played by the new rules on bank capital (the Basel III Accord) and bank resolution. The former are meant to provide banks with ample cushions to absorb losses, thus reducing the frequency of bank failures; the latter, to ensure that when a bank is failing or likely to fail it can be resolved without systemic repercussions on the financial system, while minimizing reliance on public support. The system would be completed by strengthened deposit insurance – which is a lynchpin of the preservation of confidence in banking systems – with higher coverage and pre-paid, risk-based insurance fees. With these measures, the banks would be charged the full cost of deposit protection and other advantages from the banking charter, which therefore would no longer incentivise excessive risk-taking.

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