Stockholm (NordSIP) – At the 130th (video conference) meeting of the European Banking Federation (EBF) board members representing national banking associations from 32 countries reiterated their commitment to assisting society’s struggle against the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Board highlighted the implementation of national programmes to defer repayments and to supporting state-guaranteed loan schemes aimed at mitigating the adverse economic effect of the crisis across the continent.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact, not only on the economies around the world but also on the way we all live and work. For the banks, from the very outset of the outbreak, the primary objective has been – and remains – ensuring the health and safety of staff and clients. Thanks to the swift reaction to this new situation, the European banking sector, adopting new and innovative ways of working, has continued to support communities and businesses across the continent,” said Jean Pierre Mustier, President of the European Banking Federation. “The EBF has been actively engaged with the various European institutions in forging ways to meet the new unparalleled challenges created by the lockdowns. I am positively encouraged to note the many robust actions taken both on supra-national and local levels to safeguard the swath of SMEs, that form the backbone of the European economies, and protect individuals’ financial situations.”
At the meeting, the EBF also welcomed plans to amend the Capital Requirements Regulation to exempting government bonds and government-guaranteed loans from leverage ratio constraints, to help Member States finance the recovery. An 18-month extension on the provisioning calendar for Non-Performing Loans was also highlighted as a means to speed up the return to normal for households and businesses.
The discussion also included calls for the European Commission to continue its push for a Capital Markets Union as a crucial tool for the recovery of the European economy in the aftermath of the pandemic. Other topics of discussion included the fight against money laundering the role of digitalization in facilitating the continuity of banking services during the crisis and opportunities to align with sustainability objectives to accelerate the ongoing transition.
Finally, there was a consensus that moderation of dividend and bonus policies, “as a matter of principle, is a sound concept in the current context”.