Opening Speech at the 2nd SRB-EBI conference on bank resolution by the Chair of the SRB

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[Introduction]

Thank you Georg.

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and fellow speakers, dear Thomas [Gstädtner],

I am pleased to be able to address you, and welcome you to this event. I have 5 minutes, so I will be brief.

First of all, on the health side of things, I hope that you and your nearest and dearest are keeping well. Our health is priceless and we hope the authorities and citizens will overcome this crisis together. Today however, our focus is of course on the economic impact of the pandemic.

Europe has been preparing for potential upcoming economic challenges for some time. We might have failed the tests laid out for us during the financial crash of 2007/8, but we have since dusted ourselves down and picked ourselves up.

We have put in place structures such as the Single Supervisory Mechanism and Single Resolution Mechanism. So, we have a clear vision for ensuring financial stability in Europe – now we just have to work on developing the missing links. I am pleased to see that some of those missing links are up for discussion today.

[Today’s event]

We have a number of fine academic papers to be presented and discussed over the panels today. The issue of Harmonisation of EU bank liquidation laws will be discussed in the first panel. This is a vital part of ensuring financial stability.

Then, in this afternoon’s second panel, we will hear thoughts on navigating the Post-Brexit world and in particular, of the importance of international standard-setting.  

I am particularly looking forward to the discussion in panel three, dealing with the long-running issue of the home/host balance and cross-border resolution. As Europe’s central resolution authority, the issue of cross-border resolution is naturally a core element of our work. And yet, it remains a complicated area where improvements are required.

The issue of NPLs is going to be tackled in the fourth panel today. This is one area of concern for the year ahead, since it takes time for NPLs to work their way through the system. On NPLs, I would say this to the banking sector: ‘A stitch in time saves nine’, so best to get on with dealing with NPLs sooner rather than later.

The fifth and final panel will then take a look at the lessons from Covid, and what other ‘non-financial’ risks might be lurking in the ether.

[Conclusion]

Naturally, the purpose of the panels today is to look at solutions to the current challenges we face, but I think, in order to end my opening words, I can strike an optimistic note. Yes, there are remaining obstacles to developing Europe’s financial stability architecture, but compared to five or ten years ago, we are in a much better position today.

We have a clear destination and a clear mission to protect the taxpayer and ensure stability in the financial system. Now, we must get on with reaching that destination.

To finish my opening words, a word of thanks. Once again, we have experienced good collaboration between the teams here at the SRB and at the EBI. In particular, I want to thank all those from the academic world who have been involved in preparing the papers to be discussed today. It is not easy to develop a programme, and do all the coordination that is required for such an event when working remotely, but, as the adage goes, where there is a will, there is a way! I know that today’s event will prove that point. 

So welcome once again to each of you - we have hundreds of people connected this afternoon, which is great to see. With that, I now hand back the floor to Georg.

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