By Laura Noonan and Georgina Prodhan
LONDON/VIENNA Nov 5 The European Central Bank
has eased the first deadline for lenders to submit data to be
used in its assessment of eurozone banks after some banks said
they did not have enough time to meet the demands.
The extension underscores the challenge the central bank
faces in carrying out a broad review of Europe's banking to
eliminate doubts after five years of crisis and highlight weak
spots and before it takes over as banking supervisor in late
The risk assessment is the first stage in that review and
the ECB said affected banks had been given until November 29 to
submit data. It was originally due to be submitted to the ECB by
mid November, three European banking sources told Reuters.
The ECB said it would not compromise the overall timeframe
for the tests but several bankers and supervisors have privately
warned that the timetable will be difficult to meet.
"The preliminary data request was a nightmare for most
people," one banker with an international consultancy firm with
insight into several banks' experience. "It's a very complicated
piece of work."
The data covers measures of liquidity and funding, the
source said. It was requested from the eurozone's 128 largest
banking groups, including Deutsche Bank, Santander
and Societe Generale, via their national
supervisors. It is not clear which banks have been given more
An official with a European bank said her institution had
been asked for a large amount of data by the ECB and was finding
the request "especially tough" because it included data that
banks do not collect.
In Austria, a senior banker said his bank was resigned to
the amount of work involved in meeting the Nov 20 deadline since
the ECB needed to form impressions of the banking sector quickly
before it becomes their supervisor.
A spokeswoman for the ECB confirmed that some national
supervisors were allowed to "slightly extend" the deadline for
gathering the first batch of data "to ensure that the collected
data has the highest quality possible".
"This is not a general extension, it only applies where
supervisors encountered difficulties and questions when
gathering the data for the centralised risk assessment," she
Banks have had several months advance warning about the
ECB's review and an EU stress test in 2014, but are only now
getting concrete detail on what data will be required.
Most of Europe's top thirty banks did not respond to
detailed questions from Reuters on what preparations they had
made so far. Several others said they would not comment.
Banks have had to deploy hundreds of people to work on data
for previous rounds of stress tests. The 2014 tests are expected
to be the most comprehensive yet since earlier exercises were
criticised for not taking account of a wide enough range of
In Germany, a senior Bundesbank supervisor on October 25
warned of the "considerable extra workload" that would be
created for the 24 German banks taking part in the ECB exercise.
Alessio Balduini, who heads up Moody's Analytics' stress
tests and Asset Quality Review team which advises banks and
supervisors on risk management, said while some banks are
already lining up resources, database and models to cope with
the stress tests and ECB reviews not all are equally
The "best in class" are a group of about ten international
banks with global exposures who have already been through the US
stress tests and are pre-emptively implementing systems and
procedures to churn out the data, Balduini said.
Another 30-35 larger banks have started to make changes to
their organisation charts and governance structures to get ready
for the stress tests, while the rest have taken initial steps
and are waiting for more clarity before they intensify their
efforts, he added.
(Additional reporting by Eva Taylor and Tom Atkins in
Frankfurt, Angelika Gruber in Vienna and Lionel Laurent in
Paris; editing by Anna Willard)