07 Oct 2014

The Impact of Banking Structural Reform on Household Retail Finance

Sylvain Bouyon

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There are two main objectives behind the European Commission's proposal on banking structural reform: the financial stability objective and the economic efficiency objective. If implemented, the reform should reinforce the stability and economic efficiency of household retail activities through lower contagion, better resolvability in the event of failure, more harmonised supervisory practices across the EU and more resilient household demand for retail loans. However, it could also trigger counterproductive effects that could partly undermine the expected benefits.

These potentially negative effects are not appropriately assessed in the impact study of the proposal published in January 2014 and will require further consideration in the coming months. In particular, the stability of household retail finance could be strengthened by placing more emphasis on the bankruptcy risks of retail banks; the transfer of existing systemic activities towards less regulated and supervised markets and reputational risk. A better analysis of the borrowing costs for households (impacted by the possible decreasing diversification of the funding base of banks and scarcer liquidity) and implementation costs could help regulators to achieve the objective of efficient household activities.

Sylvain Bouyon is a CEPS-ECRI Research Fellow.

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