[26 11 2012]
Heinrich Haasis, President of the World Savings Banks Institute, Brussels, and until May of this year, President of the German Savings Banks Association, Berlin, calls for a delay of the Basel III package.
One cannot expect banks to respect as of 1 January 2013 the new capital requirements, if the final terms of these requirements are not even fixed at the end of November, Mr Haasis said. Furthermore, the big US banks have great concerns about the introduction of Basel III and will not implement the package in early 2013.
Mr Haasis recalls in this context the statement of the Secretary General of the Basel Committee: "Basel III has been created for internationally active banks." It has never been clear why both the European institutions and European governments have insisted on implementing these rules for all banks – including savings banks and cooperative banks.
Now that the US has given voice to its concerns about the application of these requirements to small and medium-sized banks, Europe should also examine whether it is useful to introduce the Basel III package for all types of banks.
According to Mr Haasis, savings banks and other retail banks that are members of WSBI have no problems with higher capital requirements as such. However, Basel III comes with many other provisions that hinder retail banks in particular. This is the case for higher capital requirements for SME loans and for the liquidity rules that are particularly difficult to implement for retail banks with high levels of client deposits.
The current lack of time due to the lengthy discussions in Brussels and the fundamental concerns in the US should be the opportunity for a general reflection on the work done so far.
Just last week the European banking sector (via the European Banking Industry Committee – EBIC) called for postponing the introduction of the Basel III package in Europe on the grounds that a serious competitive disadvantage would arise for European financial institutions if they have to implement rules that the US will not adopt.
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WSBI (World Savings Banks Institute) is an international banking association that represents savings and retail banks and associations thereof in 90 countries of the world (Asia-Pacific, the Americas, Africa and Europe). WSBI represents more than 6,150 financial institutions. At the end of 2010, these institutions operated through more than 227,000 branches and outlets, employed more than 2.2 million people and served more than 600 million customers. Assets of member institutions amounted to more than US $15.6 trillion at the end of 2010.
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