Commerzbank CEO says must clarify Europe bank regulator role

FRANKFURT Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:16am EST

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FRANKFURT Nov 23 (Reuters) - Commerzbank Chief Executive Martin Blessing urged policymakers to make up their mind about whether a European bank regulator should stabilise financial markets or serve as a tool for back-door financial transfers to weak euro zone states.

"Do we want European supervision to be an institution that truly stabilizes our financial system or more as a vehicle for re-allocation and transfer?" Blessing asked bankers and regulators gathered at a conference in Frankfurt on Friday.

"Funds should be provided to banks only if the ESM/European supervision has the ability to clamp down and receive ownership of failed banks," he said, referring to the European Stability Mechanism, the EU's rescue fund.

The European Central Bank (ECB) was the right institution to take on the task of reforming supervision of lenders in Europe, the German banker said, adding that a common regulator should oversee all banks in Europe.

"I do not see another candidate for this task," Blessing said, even if day-to-day checks on small lenders would still be done at national level. (Reporting by Jonathan Gould and Edward Taylor; Editing by Mark Potter)

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