August 17, 2012 / 12:32 PM / 5 years ago

Commission wants ECB to supervise major euro banks: paper

BERLIN (Reuters) - The European Commission will propose next month giving the European Central Bank supervision over all of the euro zone’s major banks, German business newspaer Handelsblatt said on Friday, citing Commission sources.

That would include Germany’s Sparkassen savings banks and Genossenschaftsbanken cooperative banks, which Germany had hoped would be exempt when it signaled it wanted supervision only over the biggest 25 banks, the paper reported.

The Commission’s proposal, due on September 11, envisages national authorities supervising day-to-day business and the ECB only intervening where it sees “dangerous risks”, Handelsblatt said.

Outside the euro zone, national banking supervisors would stay in charge of their banks, the paper reported.

European Union leaders agreed at the end of June to set up a single banking supervisor in Europe as a pre-condition to letting the euro zone’s rescue funds directly inject cash into lenders, without lending to a government first.

It is part of a wider EU effort to stop the banking and euro zone debt crisis feeding each other.

Stefaan de Rynck, spokesman for Michel Barnier, the European commissioner for financial services who is drafting the proposal, said how the ECB would work with local regulators on the ground and with the pan-EU European Banking Authority (EBA) watchdog was still being fleshed out.

The ECB may need to have supervisory power over all banks as not just large ones have suffered problems.

“It is hard to define what is a major bank, what is a systemic bank, so we need to make sure that in the banking union that supervisory system is able to cover all banks,” de Rynck told the EU executive body’s regular midday briefing.

“The ECB has to play the pivotal role... The EBA will have to maintain a key role in terms of unity and coherence of the single market in a number of tasks there and how that relates to the new role of the ECB is what we are working on right now,” de Rynck added.

The Commission was also looking at how non-euro zone countries could opt into the banking union and how to deal with an EU treaty bar on the ECB supervising insurers, a person familiar with the discussions said.

Some insurers sell their products through banks.

Reporting by Annika Breidthardt in Berlin and Huw Jones in London; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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