The European Banking Federation (EBF), of which the Malta Bankers’ Association (MBA) is a member, held its 128th board meeting in Bucharest on May 10. The EBF’s board meeting was attended by the MBA’s chair, Marcel Cassar.
Following the meeting, the EBF issued a communique which urged the European Union to step up its efforts for improving Europe’s global competitiveness as part of the agenda of the next European Commission. Specifically, the EBF Board called on governments in Europe to recognise the key economic role of banks in funding growth and supporting prosperity.
Looking ahead to the upcoming policy cycle in the EU, the board reaffirmed the European banking sector’s constructive commitment to sustainably and responsibly financing businesses and households.
Specifically, banks recognise their role in society when it comes to developing sustainable finance and supporting the energy transition together with other industries in order to meet international climate change objectives.
Banks are fully committed to supporting further European integration, specifically in the EU financial services markets through the completion of the Banking Union and the creation of an effective Capital Markets Union (CMU).
Members of the board also emphasised the sector’s unabated commitment to supporting the fight against financial crime and against money laundering and called on EU policymakers and national governments to move towards a more efficient and coherent framework for anti-money laundering. The banking industry is keen to establish more effective cooperation with public authorities when it comes to dealing with financial crime and tax evasion.
As the start of the 2019-2024 EU policy cycle draws closer, the EBF Board also underlined the need for the European Commission to thoroughly analyse the impact of the financial regulation that has been introduced in recent years and to properly determine any unintended consequences. A comprehensive impact analysis is necessary to ensure concrete and proportionate future proposals that will prevent further fragmentation of global markets and regulation, a G20 goal supported by the EU.
Members of the EBF board acknowledged the importance of further pursuing the digital transformation in the banking sector, in order to provide clients – businesses as well as households – with innovative and secure financial services.
Looking ahead, the board wants to draw attention to the potential adverse effects of Basel IV on the European economy. Implementing the additional Basel IV measures would mean a further significant increase in capital requirements for European banks of possibly more than 20 percent. This could lead to a severe reduction in the funding available for the economy.
During the same meeting the EBF Board elected Jean Pierre Mustier, group CEO of UniCredit SpA, as the next president of the federation, replacing Société Générale CEO Frédéric Oudéa, whose mandate expires at the end of June. Mustier’s appointment is for a two-year term from July 1.
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