17 Apr 2013

Principles of a Two-Tier European Deposit (Re-)Insurance System

Daniel Gros

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There is general agreement that banking supervision and resolution have to be organised at the same level. It is often argued, however, that there is no need to tackle deposit insurance because it is too politically sensitive.

This note proposes to apply the principles of subsidiarity and re-insurance to deposit insurance: Existing national deposit guarantee schemes (DGSs) would continue to operate much as before (with only minimal standards set by an EU directive), but they would be required to take out re-insurance against risks that would be too large to be covered by them. A European Reinsurance Fund (EReIF) would provide this reinsurance financed by premia paid by the national DGSs, just as any reinsurance company does in the private sector. The European Fund would pay out only in case of large losses. This ‘deductible’ would provide the national authorities with the proper incentives, but the reinsurance cover would stabilize depositor confidence even in the case of large shocks.

Ideally the national DGSs would be responsible also for resolution. Experience has shown banking systems are more stable if deposit insurers are also responsible for resolution. The approach proposed here could thus be also used to design the ‘Single Resolution Mechanism’ (SRM) which is being discussed as a complement to the ‘Single Supervisory Mechanism’ (SSM). It will of course take time to build up the funding for such a reinsurance fund. This approach is thus not meant to deal with legacy problems from the current crisis.

Daniel Gros is Director of CEPS. Thispaper  is an abridged version of a longer study that appears in Kredit und Kapital 2012/4.

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