CEPS Project

The different legal and operational structures of banking groups in the euro area, and their impact on banks’ resolvability


The Single Resolution Mechanism, which started in January 2016, must ensure that even the largest, most interconnected and complex bank in the euro area can fail. One critical element to make this feasible is enhancing the resolvability of banks. Systemic banking groups are in general highly complex institutions composed of many different legal entities that are interconnected not only in a juridical sense but also operationally and financially. To carry out this analysis, the study assessed the 125 banks that were under the direct supervision of the European Central Bank as of May 2016, of which almost three-quarters are internationally active and more than a third of which are owned or controlled by one or more other banks. It looked at the critical elements in the resolvability of these internationally active and bank-owned banking groups and reaches two main findings. First, resolution authorities need to introduce closer coordination and cooperation in order to lower the costs of resolution (e.g. bail-in costs and negative financial stability effects). Secondly, decision-makers within bank-owned banking groups need to change their system of governance to allow for orderly resolution (e.g. to allow prompt capital and asset transfers for loss absorption in resolution).


This project was awarded under the Framework Service Contract for the provision of external expertise in the field of banking resolution (IP/A/ECON-BU/FWC/2015-057/LOT2) with the European Parliament. The full list of CEPS’ Framework Contracts is available here.

Willem Pieter De Groen

Associate Senior Research Fellow