​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Members meet in Brussels for their ESBG statutory meetings on 27-28 November 

ESBG members gathered in Brussels in November to exchange best practices, debate latest policy as well as business developments and set priorities for the upcoming activities of ESBG in 2015.  



During their President’s Committee, Board of Directors and General Assembly, members looked back on activities of ESBG in the last couple of months and remarked that 2014 was indeed another active year with regulation and supervision for European banks continuing to evolve at a very high pace. In addition, discussions on banking legislation at EU level are now highly driven by the G20 agenda and it has become increasingly important to promote consistent, adjusted and proportional rules that are tailored to the specificities of European banking models.

President Pérol remarked: “Let me draw your attention to the many ratios which we are dealing with currently – the magnificent 7: Leverage Ratio, LCR, Solvency Ratio, Total Capital Ratio, TLAC, NSFR, Asset Encumbrance Ratio. It is thus indeed important to consider and review the cumulative impact of all the measures and regulations which have been developed to be able to find the right balance.” 
Legislation which is not appropriate yet excessive and unbalanced might hamper banks’ ability to provide finance to SMEs and the economy – an area in which especially savings and retail banks have proven to have a sound track-record and expertise. 

Mr Andrea Enria, Chair of the European Banking Authority (EBA), was invited to the meetings to present the current EBA workplan and priorities. Amongst others, Mr Enria expressed the importance that stakeholders such as ESBG deliver input into the diverse EBA consultations and he promised that the EBA will continue to engage in a dialogue in order to ensure that proportionality is developed in every standard. Mr Enria noted: “There is indeed a strong demand for enhanced harmonisation in the regulatory area in the EU, however rest assured, common standards do not mean ‘one size fits all’ as differences of treatment may be justified based on the diverse business models.”

When looking towards the new year, the ESBG secretariat highlighted that 2015 will be another active and challenging year in which ESBG will continue to promote savings and retail banking, and support its members in reaching their goals of being sustainable, local and responsible financial service providers which fuel economic growth.

In addition to ESBG’s continued advocacy efforts, 2015 will also be the year in which ESBG will provide possibilities for exchange of experience to support members’ efforts in making the change in culture towards innovation and digitalisation. Some of the highlights of next year will be: The Retail Banking Conference on 19 March in Brussels, the Conference on Innovation in Payments and Account Management co-hosted by our Spanish member LaCaixa on 13 & 14 April in Barcelona, the  International Summer Forum on 29 & 30 June in Madrid and regular Payments Innovation Web Conferences open to senior member representatives – to name only a few. 

The meetings in Brussels again proved to be a good opportunity to network, discuss priorities with high-level policy stakeholders and share new insights on developments in the financial and banking area. The next ESBG meetings will be held in Vienna in June 2015.