BERLIN, April 9 (Reuters) - The vice chair of the ECB’s nascent bank supervision arm said on Wednesday that she was not currently focussing on suggestions from some ECB policymakers that the central bank should eventually spin off the new body.
The Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), run out of the ECB, is due to take over supervision of euro zone banks in November after conducting a health check of the sector.
Earlier this week, Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann backed a suggestion made by Dutch central bank chief Klaas Knot to make use of the ECB’s credibility to establish the SSM before later looking to establish it as a separate institution.
But Sabine Lautenschlaeger, who is the vice chair of the new banking watchdog as well as a member of the ECB’s Executive Board, was more focused on getting the new supervisory body up and running. Weidmann is Lautenschlaeger’s former boss.
“Please understand if I place all of my attention totally into building the supervision before discussing the separation,” she told Reuters on the margins of a banking conference in Berlin.
From November, the ECB will supervise directly around 130 of the euro zone’s largest lenders as part of a broader push towards closer integration of Europe’s banks that aims to create a more level regional playing field for the sector.
The region’s other 5,900 or so banks will remain under the brief of national supervisors, though the ECB will have powers to intervene if it deems necessary.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is another policymaker who would like to see the SSM separated from the ECB, though this would require European treaty change. (Reporting by Andreas Framke; Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Toby Chopra)