Bank financing for SMEs must be protected in Basel III finalization

The European Parliament (EP) should revise the measures that would eventually limit bank financing for ’unrated companies in the European Commission (EC)’s proposal for the finalisation of Basel III standards, said yesterday MEP Markus Ferber, Coordinator for the EPP Group at the EP’s Committee for Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON).

At a panel discussion organised by the European Savings and Retail Banking Group (ESBG), the parliamentarian said that most SMEs are likely to be ‘unrated companies’ and do not have the resources to get external rating, in contrast to large companies.

“I really want to safeguard that SMEs have access to financing and I’m not very convinced that Commission’s proposal on the unrated corporates is the solution”, he said to the agreement of most of his fellow speakers at the panel discussion ‘The impact of Basel III implementation on the EU economy’.

“We hear the concern about all those corporate clients of the banks who don’t have an external rating” said Johanna Orth, Head of Group Regulatory Affairs at Swedbank and Chair of the ESBG Task Force on Basel IV, who moderated the discussion. The Commission’s solution of a preferential risk weight for unrated companies during a transitional period ending in 2032 is “highly appreciated but still has an end date”, she stressed.

ESBG’s over 800 members are savings and retail banks who have SMEs as some of their main clients and have an important role as a motor of the EU’s real economy.

The EC’s DG FISMA Head of Banking Regulation and Supervision, Almoro Rubin de Cervin, had kindly given a brief presentation of the EC’s proposal announced at the end of October.

One of the key issues for the EU’s financial sector moving forward will be “to advance with the banking union”, said MEP Jonas Fernandez, EP’s ECON Coordinator for the S&D Group.

CaixaBank’s Head of Public Affairs, Christian Eduardo Castro, considered the EC’s Basel finalisation proposal “well-balanced and realistic” but called for some revisions, including on equity investments and disclosure requirements regarding operational risk.

ESBG Managing Director, Peter Simon, closed the event, the first one organised in ‘hybrid’ mode. “This type of dialogue is important to enhance the cooperation between all stakeholders to ensure proper and well-balanced implementation of the final Basel III standards”, he said.

Euribor reforms: a path towards longevity Update on the Eonia to €STR transition

Discussion with Petra De Deyne, Advisor for Strategic Developments at the European Money Markets Institute

ESBG Spotlight invites you to join us on 20 April to discuss the Benchmark reforms (EURIBOR®, EONIA®, €STR) and the EU Benchmarks Regulation (BMR). The session will focus on the EURIBOR® hybrid methodology as well as the smooth transition from EONIA® to €STR, and will host Petra De Deyne, working at the European Money Markets Institute (EMMI), the administrator of these critical interest rate benchmarks.

This online event is free of charge and will be held in English. Once you have registered, you will receive a confirmation containing the meeting link and instructions for joining the webinar.


Petra De Deyne began her career in the Generale Bank in 1988 as a salesperson in Money Markets and Forex and then moved to the trading side where she spent almost 20 years trading in the money markets, foreign exchange and fixed income instruments, both in European and emerging markets.

In 2009 and 2010 Petra served as Group Treasurer of Fortis Lease. She was a Senior Manager in Regulatory Affairs for CIB in BNP Paribas from 2010 till 2016.

She joined the European Money Markets Institute (EMMI) in 2016 to take the position of Manager of the Benchmark Unit. Since July 2019 she has been EMMI’s Advisor for Strategic Developments.

Petra holds a Master Degree in English and German, as well as post-graduate degrees in Finance and Business Communication. ​


15:00 Welcome and introduction
15:05 Presentation by Petra De Deyne, Advisor for Strategic Developments at the EMMI​​
15:30 Q&A session moderated by Sebastian Stodulka, Head of Regulatory Affairs, WSBI-ESBG​​
15:45 End of the webinar

COVID-19: European banking, insurance social partners statement

​​​Joint statement of the European social partners in the banking and insurance sectors on the Covid-19 emergency crisis

The European social partners in the financial services sector – UNI Europa Finance, the Banking Committee for European Social Affairs of the European Banking Federation (EBF BCESA), the European Savings and Retail Banking Group (ESBG), the European Association of Cooperative Banks (EACB), Insurance Europe, the Association of Mutual Insurers and Insurance Cooperatives in Europe (AMICE), and the European Federation of Insurance Intermediaries (BIPAR) – would like to express their sincere sympathy to everyone directly suffering because of the Covid-19 pandemic and to profoundly thank all those risking their own health to save lives. As social partners, we are fully committed to ensuring that the European banking and insurance sectors continue to assist their customers and support European economic activities to the best of our abilities during this unprecedented pandemic crisis.

This requires close and intense coordination with public authorities and for the European institutions, regulatory and supervisory authorities and the financial services sector to work together to try to neutralise as much as possible and to the best of our abilities the effects of Covid-19 on the economy. Important measures have already been taken to help the banking sector in supporting the economy. As this is a rapidly evolving situation, the social partners call on the public authorities to stand ready to take further action and use the necessary flexibility at their disposal to overcome the present difficulties.

Employees and employers in the European banking and insurance sectors, as well as insurance and financial intermediaries, are doing their utmost to offer essential services to the public within the limits imposed by public authorities, and will continue to do so throughout the crisis as best they can. The European social partners in the financial services sector thank all employees in the banking and insurance sectors who are working to alleviate the effects of this crisis.

Across the sector, all the European social partners agree that the health and safety of our employees, our customers and the general public are absolutely paramount, and that every effort and contribution should be made to help contain the spread and impact of Covid-19.

To this end:

  • All the actors in the European financial services sector follow strictly the recommendations and rules of public authorities and health agencies in relation to Covid-19.
  • Companies in the sector have organised for the vast majority of their employees to work remotely whenever and wherever possible to reduce their exposure to the virus and limit its spread.
  • The European social partners in the financial services sector ask for their customers’ forbearance when they are requested, in line with the public measures decided at national level, to limit physical visits to branches, agencies and offices as well as face-to-face meetings. All the actors in the sector have reorganised their operations to remain at the service of customers through telephone, email and other communication technologies and tools, or, when necessary and when allowed and always in line with the rules and guidance of public authorities and health agencies, through face-to-face contact.
  • During this Covid-19 crisis, all employees at their workplace, especially those who continue in their public-facing roles, need to be given appropriate protection in terms of both equipment and infrastructure on the basis of the relevant rules and guidance of the appropriate public authorities and health agencies, to minimise the risk of contagion as far as possible. This is in the best interests of customers and the general public.

Social Dialogue at all possible levels can provide a good context for finding suitable solutions for this exceptional situation and experience shows that it contributes to reach the high-level buy-in needed for successful implementation.

Europe must show responsibility, solidarity and efficiency in facing this emergency by protecting all its affected citizens, workers and businesses. The European social partners in the financial services sector remain committed to protecting companies and the employees in the banking and insurance sectors and supporting European citizens and economic activities to the best of their abilities during this extraordinary crisis period.


Michael Budolfsen President, UNI Europa Finance
​Jens Thau Chairman, EBF BCESA
Chris De Noose Managing Director, ESBG
Hervé Guider Managing Director, EACB
Andreas Brandstetter President, Insurance Europe
Grzegorz Buczkowski President, AMICE|Juan Ramón Plá Chairman, BIPAR

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Joint statement of the European Social Partners in the Banking and Insurance Sectors on the COVID-19 Emergency Crisis