New Examination Priorities for Supervisors: Improving supervisory practices across the EU

December 2023
8 min read

One of the main goals of the European Banking Authority (EBA) is to promote supervisory convergence across the European Union regarding supervisory practices. To further the convergence of these supervisory practices the EBA annually outlines key areas of supervisory attention in its European Supervisory Examination Programme (ESEP). On 19 October 2023, the EBA announced the primary focus points for 2024.

Liquidity and funding risk

While European banks generally have sufficient liquidity, there are potential challenges on the horizon. Recent events, including bank failures in the United States and the issues with Credit Suisse, have underscored the importance for banks to have a framework in place that allows a quick response to market volatility and changes in liquidity.

Several factors contribute to these challenges, such as the end of funding programs (i.e. quantitative easing and the TLTRO program), changes in market interest rates, and evolving depositor behavior. The EBA stresses it's not just about meeting regulatory requirements; banks are urged to manage liquidity proactively, maintain reasonable liquidity buffers beyond regulatory mandates, diversify their funding sources, and adapt to changing market dynamics.

The EBA also stresses that the role of social media in relation to the financial markets cannot be underestimated. Banks are encouraged to incorporate social media sentiment into their stress-testing frameworks and develop strategies to counter the impact of negative social media news on deposit withdrawals or market funding stability.

Supervisory authorities should assess institutions’ liquidity risk, funding profiles, and their readiness to deal with wholesale/retail counterparties and funding concentrations. They should also scrutinize banks’ internal liquidity adequacy assessment processes (ILAAP) and their ability to sell securities under different market conditions. Relevant to the increased scrutiny of liquidity and funding risk are the revised technical standards on supervisory reporting on liquidity, published in the summer of 2023 (EBA, June 2023).

Interest rate risk and hedging

The transition from an era of persistently low or even negative interest rates to a period of rising rates and persistent inflation is a major concern for banks in 2024. While the initial impact on net interest margins may be positive, banks face challenges in managing interest rate risk effectively.

Supervisors are tasked with assessing whether banks have suitable organizational frameworks for managing interest rate risk. This includes examining responsibilities at the management level and ensuring that senior management is implementing effective interest rate risk strategies. Moreover, supervisors should evaluate how changes in interest rates may impact an institution’s Net Interest Income (NII) and Economic Value of Equity (EVE). This involves examining assumptions about customers’ behavior, particularly in the context of deposit funding in the digital age.

Interest rate risk and liquidity and funding risk are closely linked, and supervisors are encouraged to consider these links in their assessments, reflecting the interconnected nature of these topics. The new guidelines on IRRBB and CSRBB (EBA, July 2023) emphasize this interconnectedness. It underscores the necessity for financial institutions and regulatory bodies alike to adopt a holistic approach, recognizing that addressing one risk may have cascading effects on others.

The EBA has announced a data collection scheme regarding IRRBB data of financial institutions, highlighting the priority the EBA gives to IRRBB. The data collection exercise is based on the newly published implementing technical standards (ITS) for IRRBB and has a March 2023 deadline. The collection of the IRRBB data will only apply to those institutions that are already reporting IRRBB to the EBA in the context of the QIS exercise.

Recovery operationalization

Recent financial market events (such as Credit Suisse, SVB) have underscored the importance of being prepared for swift and effective crisis responses. Recovery plans, which banks are required to have in place, must be updated and they must include credible options to restore financial soundness in a timely manner.

Supervisors play a vital role in assessing the adequacy and severity of scenarios in recovery plans. These scenarios must be sufficiently severe to trigger the full range of available recovery options, allowing institutions to demonstrate their capacity to restore business and financial viability in a crisis.

Moreover, the Overall Recovery Capacity (ORC) is a key outcome of recovery planning, providing an indication of the institution’s ability to restore its financial position following a significant downturn. It’s crucial for supervisors to review the adequacy and quality of the ORC, with a focus on liquidity recovery capacity.

To ensure the effectiveness of recovery plans, supervisors should also encourage banks to perform dry-run exercises and assess the suitability of communication arrangements, including faster communication tools like social media.

A strategic imperative

Beyond these key focus areas, the EBA also emphasizes the ongoing relevance of issues such as asset quality, cyber risk, and data security. These challenges remain important in the supervisory landscape, although they are not the main priorities in the coming year.

Thus, in light of the EBA’s aforementioned regulatory priorities for 2024, it is imperative for all financial institutions across the European Union to proactively engage in ensuring the stability and resilience of the banking sector. From a liquidity perspective, it is vital to actively manage your financial institution’s liquidity and anticipate the ripples of market volatility. Moreover, the insights of social media sentiment within your stress-testing frameworks can add vital information. The ability to navigate funding challenges is not just a regulatory requirement; it’s a strategic imperative.

The shift to the current high interest rate environment warrants an assessment of a bank’s organizational readiness for this change. Make sure that your senior management is not only aware of implementing effective interest rate risk strategies but also adept at them. Moreover, scrutinize the impact of changing interest rates on your NII and EVE.

How can Zanders support?

Zanders is a thought leader in the management and modeling of IRRBB. We enable financial institutions to meet their strategic risk goals while achieving regulatory compliance, by offering support from strategy to implementation. In light of the aforementioned regulatory priorities of the EBA, we can support and guide you through these changes in the world of IRRBB with agility and foresight.

Are you interested in IRRBB-related topics? Contact Jaap Karelse, Erik Vijlbrief (Netherlands, Belgium and Nordic countries) or Martijn Wycisk (DACH region) for more information.

EBA, July 2023. Guidelines on IRRBB and CSRBB. s.l.:s.n.
EBA, June 2023. Implementing Technical Standards on supervisory reporting amendments with regards to COREP, asset encumbrance and G-SIIs. s.l.:s.n.
EBA, September 2023. Work Program 2024. s.l.:s.n.


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