ESBG and 36 business associations, sign a letter on CSDD ahead of the EP Plenary voting

Ahead of the vote in plenary session of the CSDDD, ESBG shares this letter co-signed with 36 business associations. As we all are committed to a workable CSDDD, we remind the importance of a full harmonization to ensure a level playing filed, the need for a risk-based approach and the objective of legal clarity for businesses.

The European economy, including SMEs which will be impacted even if formally out of the scope, need a workable due diligence framework that is drafted in a balanced and proportionate way. There should be no room for legal uncertainty and fragmentation which will hamper the possibility for European companies, already facing a legally complex and crisis abundant environment, to contribute to the sustainability transition. We would therefore like to ask for number of key recommendations and concerns to be taken into account for the next stages of the legislative process:

1. We strongly call for full harmonisation to ensure a level playing field and avoid further internal market fragmentation. This is also in the spirit of the 30th Anniversary of the Internal Market. Divergent national legal regimes on due diligence would not only be costly and burdensome for companies of all sizes but, more importantly, risk undermining the achievement of the goals of the legislation in an efficient and effective manner.

2. To ensure that the future Directive is truly consistent with a risk-based approach, widely supported in international instruments in the UN and OECD, companies cannot be expected to focus on every single element of their value chains. The ability to prioritise the identification of and action to address the most salient risks is a necessity that must have a crucial impact on compliance with the due diligence process and its consequences. More prominence to industry and multi-stakeholder schemes is needed to help companies better comply with the new rules.

3. Legal liability provisions, including sanctions, need to be balanced, follow legal traditions around breach-damage-causality and truly incorporate the widely accepted principle that due diligence is first and foremost an obligation of means. The complexity of value chains cannot be underestimated when analysing impacts which can have multiple competing causes, players and dynamics. Therefore, companies cannot be made liable for damages they have not -intentionally or negligently – caused.

4. We acknowledge that, where relevant, due diligence requires engagement from relevant stakeholders in order to be effective. However, this should not mean creating wide open litigation powers to any entity to bring claims to court which could give rise to mass abusive litigation, ultimately depriving victims of harmful impacts to bring themselves claims to courts or mandate a representative (of their choice) to act on their behalf.

5. Legal clarity is paramount for the success of this initiative. This implies, for example, that definitions are robust and in line with what is used at international level (UN/OECD) and that provisions around climate objectives match with the recent Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). Also, we call for revisiting and shortening the 2 annex to only include those conventions and treaties that create concrete obligations on companies so not to mix up their roles with the one of states. Timely guidance will be necessary on the new rules to avoid additional complexity both for the companies to secure compliance with a multi-layer set of rules, and for competent authorities to assess compliance with an over-prescriptive framework.

6. Regulating directors’ duties does not belong in a due diligence framework. It will have negative side-effects, including the disruption of existing, well-established governance models of the member states, without added value to the ability of companies to apply effective due diligence.

Read the full letter here

ESBG addresses Commissioner McGuinness on the review of the second Payment Services Directive

On 26 May, ESBG, in cooperation with other banking associations, sent a joint letter to Commissioner McGuinness regarding the ongoing review of the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) in order to draw her attention to two crucially important matters for the banking sector, namely combating authorised push payment scams and fraud and ensuring a fair distribution of value and risk in open banking.

In the letter, the three European Credit Sector Associations – the European Savings and Retail Banking Group (ESBG), the European Association of Cooperative Banks (EACB) and the European Banking Federation (EBF) argue that for addressing the important issue of fraud, a number of measures should be taken as part of the PSD2 review.

The signatories believe that all relevant actors must come under legal obligations to fight scams – this should not be limited to the banking sector only. Also, the associations believe that a generalised refund right would increase scams, as a more comprehensive reimbursement policy would support the ‘criminal business model’ and therefore make EU citizens more vulnerable to scams.

Moreover, a refund right for authorised transactions would bring significant uncertainty in the payment system and to payment finality by essentially considering all payments non-final – it would conflict with an underlying principle and cornerstone of the legal framework to the detriment of PSPs, consumers and businesses alike. Further, the signatories argue that consumer awareness on fraud is key and together with resilience this need joint efforts, and that targeted measures are needed for prevention and mitigation of fraud.

A second crucial aspect of the PSD2 review is the opportunity to create an ‘open banking’ framework with fair distribution of value and risk that corrects the imbalances resulting from the approach taken in PSD2. A key lesson learnt from the assessment of the PSD2 implementation is that a competitive ecosystem only works when there are benefits for all.
The reviewed legislation should guarantee that both sides of the market can draw benefits from open banking, which is the only way to create a thriving and healthy open banking ecosystem. Therefore, the possibility for banks to charge others for the access to payment accounts should be allowed.

The letter contains some amendments that are needed in the PSD2 review to help banks to fight scams and fraud.

Read the full letter here

WSBI-ESBG is looking for a Policy Advisor in CSR

With roots in 1924, WSBI-ESBG members enjoy a long history of socially responsible banking around the world. Although organizational structures vary from country to country, they each share certain values in their business models, embedded within the three “R”s.

RETAIL: Actively providing financial services for people, individual consumers and their households, as well as for MSMEs and local authorities: financing the real economy;

REGIONAL: Deploy broad distribution networks rooted within the communities they serve, including local and regional outreach in both urban and rural areas. Savings mobilized locally support the local economy;

RESPONSIBLE: Social responsibility is a core value of our members, towards their clients, employees, communities and the environment. Unlike Wall Street players, WSBI members are Main Street players.

Within this framework, WSBI-ESBG members attach a strong commitment to sustainable development and include Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a fundamental and integrated part of their business recommending an engagement to responsible principles where financial inclusion and financial responsibility remain important opportunities and challenges.

The WSBI-ESBG is recruiting a full-time policy advisor on corporate social responsibility. He/she/d will be responsible for exploring and developing policy positions and coordinating members’ actions in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); Particularly, he/she/d will also have to work in the organisation of the CSR Committee, supporting the Chairperson and members of the Committee.


• Advocating in the field of corporate social responsibility ;
• Supporting members implementing international and social affairs related regulations, social responsibilities and social dialogue;
• Frame, organise and develop the CSR Committee, formerly the European Committee (ESBG), into a truly global committee that includes our members worldwide (WSBI)
• Supporting the WSBI-ESBG Communication Depart. in developing strategic messages in international, social affairs;
• Maintain and update WSBI-ESBG data base to collect case studies on members’ CSR related activities including foundations work;
• Actively implementing direct contacts with the institutional policy makers such as the European Commission, the European Parliament the Council (Member States) and others international institutions;
• Develop a strategy on the field of financial education representing WSBI-ESBG with social partners in the contact of EU social dialogue project.


• Completed university degree in law, finance, economy, political science or similar;
• Some experience in advocacy work;
• Ideally, 2-3 year’s experience in banking/financial and investment services;
• Excellent organisational skills and capacity to prepare large meetings and events, setting out agendas, including overseeing the administrative work and taking responsibility on their development;
• Good political, strategic and technical understanding of the abovementioned topics;
• Profound understanding of the EU law-making environment and decision-making process;
• Excellent interpersonal and communication skills in a multi-cultural environment;
• Excellent influencing skills, persuasiveness and sense of diplomacy;
• Excellent capacity and good interpersonal and personal bridge skills and ability to work under pressure;
• Enthusiasm and a positive attitude towards the various projects for which he/she/d will be responsible.
• Perfect command in English, other EU languages are an asset.

Interested candidates are invited to send a C.V. accompanied by a covering letter by email to before 23rd June 2023.

Social Partners call for Parliamentary support in review of the Sectoral Social Dialogue Framework

On 26 May, 35 European Social Partners from a wide range of sectors requested support from the European Parliament in the review of the Commission of its Sectoral Social Dialogue.

The Commission review is heading in a direction which puts more responsibility on the social partners, and less on the Commission secretariat which is currently the norm. These proposed changes (among others) will put a lot of pressure on the social partners, in particular from the smaller sectors.

In the letter, social partners from more than 12 sectors are requesting that the Parliament supports social partners in calling on the Commission to maintain both its logistical and financial, legal and political support for sectoral social dialogue committees. Additional requests for more transparency of the Commission review are in the pipeline.

Joint Statement on the Review of the Distance Marketing of Financial Services Directive

On 25 May, ESBG, in cooperation with other financial service associations including the European Banking Federation, Eurofinas, Leaseurope, European Association of Co-operative Banks and the European Mortgage Federation - European Covered Bond Council, issued a joint statement in the context of the negotiations of the Distance Marketing in Financial Services Directive (DMFSD).

ESBG, with the co-signatories expressed support for high-level consumer protection and the preservation of the “safety net” feature in the proposed Directive. However, we also identified several issues which should be of particular consideration.

We specifically voiced our apprehensions as regards the potential application of DMFSD rules to financial services already governed by EU financial legislation, which do not provide for the provisions for the right of withdrawal, pre-contractual information, or adequate explanations. This application could result in confusion and legal uncertainty, which goes against the EU better regulation principles.

In addition, the co-authors of the statement call for the removal of the reminder of the right of withdrawal. Such an obligation has no added value since the possibility of withdrawal is already mentioned in the pre-contractual information and the contract itself.
We raised our concerns about the unequal treatment between financial services concluded at a distance on an occasional basis and those provided by banks. The fellow signatories argue that some provisions may favour FinTech companies.
Also, the co-signed statement recommends deleting provisions related to online advertising in the DMFSD, as this subject is already covered by the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive.

Download Complete Statement (pdf)

Your Contact:
Marta Kajda-Legal Advisor ESBG
t.:+32 2 211 11 69

Joint statement on the Data Act-Access to data by public bodies

In times of crisis, companies stand ready to do their part and help public bodies by sharing data to tackle public emergencies, as evidenced during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, to function, mandatory data sharing between private companies and governments needs clear and transparent conditions for all parties involved.

Chapter V of the Data Act proposal was developed on this basis, setting an obligation for companies to make any data available to public bodies, but does so by loosely referring to various cases of ‘exceptional need.’ The proposed framework includes collecting data to prevent, respond to, and recover from a public emergency but also fulfilling one of the public sector body’s tasks where the lack of data would prevent it from doing so. The latter can be interpreted as any activity carried out by a public institution.

The proposed rules would mean that any public body, at EU, national, regional or local level, could request any type of data, including personal data, from any data holder, for any reason. We believe these rules do not respect the requirements set out in the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. With such a broad scope, there is a risk that personal or sensitive data will be leaked or misused.

Public emergencies are by nature time sensitive. They require a clear and structured legal framework to prepare for secure transfers that fully respect data protection. However, contrary to other parts of the Data Act, Chapter V covers any type of data, without any differentiation, limitation or exception. The data’s intended use and its duration are also left to be defined by the public bodies themselves. The proposal also fails to recognise existing frameworks for data sharing and reporting obligations.

We strongly encourage Council and Parliament to implement the necessary safeguards and limits to protect the rule of law in Europe. We welcome the Parliament’s attempts to set certain limits, such as restricting Chapter V to non-personal data, limiting public authorities’ power to freely ask for data when it is simply convenient and regardless of proportionality, and by setting rules for certain information to be specified in the requests. But this will not be enough.

We recommend – at least – the following:
• Only public emergencies can give rise to data access. Article 15(c) must be deleted.
• Personal data cannot be in scope of Chapter V. No exceptions.
• Categories of public bodies that can request data must be expressly designated.
• Access requests conditions must be strengthened, with transparency regarding data use and protective measures.

We trust that EU policymakers will take the time to build a clear and proportionate framework that does not allow unrestricted access to any data on shaky grounds, but will on the contrary protect fundamental rights and the rule of law.

Download Pdf

Your Contact:
Janine Barten
Advisor Digital Finance and Innovation
t.:+32 2 211 11 27

ESBG responds to the EBA consultation on IRRBB supervisory reporting

ESBG submitted its response to the consultation launched by the European Banking Authority (EBA) on 2 May 2023 on its draft Implementing Technical Standards (ITS) on supervisory reporting with respect to interest rate risk in the banking book (IRRBB). The consultation paper proposes new, harmonised reporting requirements for the assessment and monitoring of institutions’ IRRBB across the EU. This new reporting will provide supervisors the necessary data to monitor IRRBB risks in credit institutions, taking into careful consideration the concept of proportionality.

Since ESBG supports the introduction of more proportionality in reporting, we pointed out that the proposed the design of templates does not properly embrace this principle. In our view, the foreseen proportionality applied in practice does not really reduce the complexity of populating the templates, bearing in mind especially banking groups with large number of banking subsidiaries.

What is more, ESBG believes the level of detail in the data requests provides limited additional information about the IRRBB exposure of a bank, and it doesn’t improve the quality of internal management of IRRBB. The rationale and added value of requesting additional calculations besides supervisory outlier test (SOT) on economic value of equity (EVE), net interest income (NII) and standard repricing schedule is not clear.

Some examples of additional calculations whose purpose is unclear, especially for small entities, and which need to be provided on a quarterly basis are: i) the repricing schedule with contractual features; ii) PV01 with eliminating optionality; or iii) EVE and NII according to contractual features. ESBG also supports that some metrics should be reported at group level only and with lower frequency

Read Executive SummaryRead the full position

ESBG holds a record number of 22 sideline meetings during the Eurofi conference in Stockholm

As part of the Eurofi conference that took place from 26-28 April in Stockholm, WSBI-ESBG Managing Director Peter Simon, accompanied by ESBG staff members, organized a series of 22 sideline meetings with high-level stakeholders involved in the EU financial services’ decision-making process

The conference took place in Stockholm as part of the ongoing discussion surrounding one of the ECOFIN meetings of the Swedish Presidency of the Council. More than 17 ESBG members actively took part in these bilateral meetings and had the opportunity to address key issues on a wide range of policy dossiers. While more than 25 topics have been raised during these meetings, important concerns were shared with policy makes on the Retail Investment Strategy, Digital Euro, Basel and the

Crisis Management and Deposit Insurance (CMDI). Among others, ESBG representatives met with EU Commission EVP Valdis Dombrovskis, EBA Chair Jose Manuel Campa, SRB Chair Dominique Laboureix and BCBS Chair Pablo Hernandez de Cos.

In this context, ESBG members strongly advocated against the full ban on inducements concretely highlighting the advice gap that would result from such a decision and explained to policy makers the importance of keeping different advice models that would match the needs of various types of retail customers. On digital euro, ESBG recalled the necessity of developing a sustainable business model for distributors to ensure a fair compensation of the costs caused by the digital euro.

Strong voices were also expressed regarding the importance of applying the output floor at consolidated level across member states in the context of the ongoing discussion surrounding the implementation of Basel 3. Finally, the ESBG delegation expressed serious concerns about the newly tabled CMDI proposal warning about the negative impact an enlarged scope of resolution entities could have on the financial sector and called for a proportionate approach to the resolution framework.

The Eurofi conference is a key advocacy tool that ESBG staff will continue to leverage in the future. The next edition of the Eurofi is expected to take place in Santiago de Compostela in Spain in September 2023 during the Spanish Presidency of the Council.

See More on Eurofi WebsiteSpeech by Commissioner McGuinnessSpeech by Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis

Dominique Carriou
Head of Department-Regulatory Affairs

ESBG submits its response to ESAs on the exchange of information relevant to fit and proper assessment

On 28 April, ESBG submitted its response to the European Supervisory Authorities’ (ESAs’) consultation on joint draft Guidelines concerning the system established by the ESAs for the exchange of information relevant to the assessment of the fitness and propriety of holders of qualifying holdings, directors and key function holders of financial institutions and financial market participants by competent authorities.

In its response, ESBG expressed its concern about proposed guidelines that could interfere with the distribution of responsibilities between ESAs and the national competent authorities in some Member States. ESBG members argue that the envisaged obligation to query a centrally organised database violates the competence of national competent authority and that the database is not necessary for efficient supervision. They also raise concerns about using data from the database by the ESAs and suggest that the purpose for accessing and evaluating data should be specified in the guidelines.

ESBG proposes essential modifications that should be made if the ESA’s guidelines on information exchange are introduced.

ESBG proposes including a general obligation that queries of the database must have a legitimate reason and be logged, informing the data subject when a query is made and establishing minimum standards for data security.

ESBG also suggests specific clarifications and attention to statutory deadlines, as well as ensuring that the exchange of information does not alter, suspend or elongate the deadlines applicable to the assessment at stake.

Finally, ESBG also highlights the importance of data protection when competent authorities exchange information on members of the management body.

Read the full position

ESBG sends a letter to the EBA and EC to address the proposed changes to the EBA RTS on IRRBB SOT

On 25 April, ESBG sent a letter to the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Commission (EC) regarding the EC proposed changes to the EBA RTS on interest rate risk in the banking book (IRRBB) supervisory outlier test (SOT), specifically for the net interest income (NII) metric. A first ESBG letter on this topic had already been submitted to these institutions in December 2022 to signal the problems with the proposed 2,5% SOT for NII threshold in light of the evolving interest rates environment.

During the adoption period, the Commission suggested introducing a new definition of “large decline” (which triggers the identification of a bank as outlier) based on two elements: 1) a ranking of banks elaborated by competent authorities, and 2) a NII decline higher than 2.5% of a bank’s Tier 1 capital.

ESBG’s letter stressed that the Commission’s suggested approach would not remediate the concerns raised by the industry regarding the calibration of the SOT NII threshold, and it would instead add more complexity, uncertainty and a lack of clarity. Instead, we recommended postponing the calibration of the SOT NII threshold to allow for a thorough analysis of the sensitivity and structural aspects of banks’ interest rate risk management and of the monetary policy developments. As an alternative, the letter recommended that the EBA sets a higher threshold to a more consistent level of 7,5% in combination with a transition period of at least 18 months.

As a result of the advocacy efforts undertaken by ESBG and other banking associations, the EBA issued an Opinion on 28 April rejecting the Commission’s approach. In particular, the Opinion proposed to retain the methodology for a large decline, as originally designed by the EBA, but to amend the level of what constitutes a large decline, replacing the original level of 2,5% of Tier 1 Capital with a level of 5% of Tier 1 Capital in view of the current rate conditions. Compared to the Commission’s proposal, the EBA solution is more realistic and in line with the industry concerns.

The new version of the RTS will still need to be adopted by the Commission, approximatively in mid-2023. The EBA current scrutiny plans on IRRBB will continue, encompassing a reconsideration in the short term of the level of the threshold, which might need regular updates through time

Read the Full Letter