BRUSSELS, 9 November 2021 – The European Parliament (EP) should revise the measures that would eventually limit bank financing for ’unrated companies’ in the European Commission (EC)’s proposal for the finalisation of Basel III standards, said yesterday MEP Markus Ferber, Coordinator for the EPP Group at the EP’s Committee for Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON).
At a panel discussion organised by the European Savings and Retail Banking Group (ESBG), the parliamentarian said that most SMEs are likely to be ‘unrated companies’ and do not have the resources to get external rating, in contrast to large companies.
“I really want to safeguard that SMEs have access to financing and I’m not very convinced that Commission’s proposal on the unrated corporates is the solution”, he said to the agreement of most of his fellow speaker at the panel discussion ‘The impact of Basel III implementation on the EU economy’.
“We hear the concern about all those corporate clients of the banks who don’t have an external rating” said Johanna Orth, Head of Group Regulatory Affairs at Swedbank and Chair of the ESBG Task Force on Basel, who moderated the discussion. The Commission’s solution of a preferential risk weight for unrated companies during a transitional period ending in 2032 is “highly appreciated but still has an end date”, she stressed.
ESBG’s over 800 members are savings and retail banks who have SMEs as some of their main clients and have an important role as a motor of the EU’s real economy.
The EC’s DG FISMA Head of Banking Regulation and Supervision, Almoro Rubin de Cervin, had kindly given a brief presentation of the EC’s proposal announced at the end of October.
One of the key issues for the EU’s financial sector moving forward will be “to advance with the banking union”, said MEP Jonas Fernandez, EP’s ECON Coordinator for the S&D Group.
CaixaBank’s Head of Public Affairs, Christian Eduardo Castro, considered the EC’s Basel finalisation proposal “well-balanced and realistic” but called for some revisions, including on equity investments and disclosure requirements with regard to operational risk.
ESBG Managing Director, Peter Simon, closed the event, the first one organised in ‘hybrid’ mode.
“This type of dialogue is important to enhance the cooperation between all stakeholders to ensure proper and well-balanced implementation of the final Basel III standards”, he said.