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WOCCU Urges Flexibility to FSB for COVID-19 Exit Strategies

WOCCU urged the Financial Stability Board to provide maximum flexibility to national level regulators in the withdrawal of relief measures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The comments cam as part of the Financial Stability Board’s (FSB) consultative report on the Exit strategies to support equitable recovery and address effects from COVID-19 scarring in the financial sector.

WOCCU noted their concern the impact and potential increase in institutional stress that a rapid withdrawal of relief will cause. Due to the consequences of the pandemic, characterized by high levels of unemployment, the deterioration of specific sectors of the economy and the loss of individual purchasing power, and the impact the war in Ukraine, inflation, rising gas prices, and other increasing costs, many financial entities may experience solvency, liquidity, and other problems in the short and medium term. Depending on the reality of each country and individual credit unions, a generalized deterioration in the quality of financial assets could generate a systemic contagion effect in the financial system of a country, or within the credit union sector.

WOCCU has long urged national-level regulators to work closely with credit unions on providing reasonable and attainable plans to restore norms that existed prior to the pandemic.  WOCCU will continue to work with international standard setters and national level regulators as the withdrawal of COVID-19 related relief measures are withdrawn.

A copy of the letter can be viewed here.

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Financial Stability Board

Basel Committee Meets to Discuss Basel Framework and Continuous Work on Climate-Related Risks

On July 14-15, 2022, the Basel Committee held a meeting to discuss several issues including, but not limited to: necessary measures to address climate-related financial risks, risks and vulnerabilities within the global banking system, additional empirical analyses on buffer usability and cyclicality in the Basel framework (the Committee plans to publish an evaluation report), and the approved results of the annual assessment exercise for globally systemically important banks (G-SIBs). The global banking system is currently enduring inflation and other growth inhibiting factors, and the Committee met to discuss its effects. The Committee believes that banks have been resilient due the success of its Basel II reforms and emplore banks and supervisors to "remain vigilant". Moreover, as a follow up to its interim evaluation report in 2021, on early lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Committee plans to release a second report before the G20 Leaders' Summit, taking place in November of this year. In addition to this report, the Committee approved the results of its annual assessment exercise for G-SIBs, which will be submitted to the Financial Stability Board before it publishes a list of G-SIBs for 2022. Most notably, the Committee discussed the assessment and development of “a suite of potential measures – spanning disclosure, supervisory and/or regulatory measures – to address climate-related financial risks to the global banking system.”

More information on the Basel Committee’s July 14-15 meeting is available here.

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Basel

FSI Issues Insights on Supervisory Practices for Assessing Sustainability

Financial Stability Institute (FSI) of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) issued its Financial Stability Insights report on the supervisory practices for assessing the sustainability of banks’ business models

The report finds that banks rarely become weak overnight, and flaws in business models and strategies are often the root causes of banks' vulnerabilities and failures. While sudden shocks may be the immediate cause of banks' demise, the root causes are generally more structural. If not identified in time and allowed to fester, these vulnerabilities will make a bank's activities increasingly unsustainable, to the point where it becomes non-viable.

The report notes that business model analysis (BMA) is a key component of supervisory frameworks that allows supervisors to identify banks' vulnerabilities at an early stage and helps to ensure their safety and soundness. Where the analysis identifies existing or potential vulnerabilities, the assessment may provide grounds for early supervisory interventions. Therefore, BMA has the potential to enhance bank supervision and make it more effective, proactive and forward-looking.

The paper presents a range of supervisory practices regarding BMAs. In particular, it aims to identify practices that might be relevant to authorities seeking to explicitly introduce BMA in their supervisory review process (SRP). In order to do so, the paper emphasizes practical aspects of BMA, including processes and procedures for developing and conducting a BMA as well as for integrating its outcomes into the overall SRP.

A copy of the report can be viewed here.

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Bank of International Settlements

FSB Issues Letter to G20 Finance Ministers

The Financial Stability Board (FSB) issued its letter to the G20 which is meeting during a time of growing financial stability challenges.  The G20 will have its Leaders’ Summitt in Indonesia in November.

The letter flags that the combination of lower growth, rising inflation and tighter global financial conditions may crystallise pre-existing vulnerabilities in the global financial system or give rise to new ones. In particular: rising indebtedness across sovereigns, non-financial corporates and households; liquidity mismatches in non-bank financial intermediation; and tightening financial conditions affecting Emerging Market and Developing Economies (EMDEs). The letter stresses that with the exit from COVID-19 well underway, it is important to rebuild macroprudential policy space whenever national conditions allow.

The letter outlines risks from commodity markets and notes that the FSB is analysing financial issues in commodity markets and closely monitoring the possible spillovers from commodities markets into the broader global financial system, as part of its ongoing surveillance.

The letter provides an overview of two areas of the FSB’s work for which documents have been submitted to the G20: addressing scarring and exit strategies from COVID-19; and progress under the FSB’s climate roadmap. The letter also provides an update on the FSB’s work on crypto-assets, following the issuance of a public statement on this topic.

A copy of the letter can be viewed here.

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Financial Stability Board

FSB Issues Progress Report on Climate Roadmap

The FSB issued the FSB Roadmap for Addressing Financial Risks from Climate Change: 2022 progress report noting that policy action to address such risks is more urgent than ever. The report notes the increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather and climate-related events, and the intense debate about current and future energy policies in many jurisdictions, highlights that financial risks related to climate change, including transition risks, are not just a long-term issue or tail event.

Effective action continues to rest on strong international coordination. The G20 has asked the FSB to deliver in July 2022 the first of its annual progress reports on the Roadmap. The report summaries the progress across all four blocks of the Roadmap:

  • Firm-level disclosures
  • Data
  • Vulnerabilities analysis
  • Regulatory and supervisory practices and tools

This progress report was prepared in consultation with standard-setting bodies and other relevant international bodies and serves as input into broader international policy considerations, such as at the G20, G7 and UN, as well as to the work under the G20 Sustainable Finance Working Group (SFWG) roadmap on sustainable finance.

A copy of the report can be viewed here.

 

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Financial Stability Board

IASB Publishes Its Priorities for the Next Five Years

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) released its Third Agenda Consultation Snapshot and Feedback Statement, outlining its priorities from 2022 to 2026. The Feedback Statement summarized feedback received from a 2021 public consultation, contributing, in large part, to shaping its priorities and work plan. The IASBs key strategic priorities include:

  • Maintaining the strategic direction and balance of the IASB’s activities. These will remain largely the same, but in response to stakeholder feedback, they will increase “efforts in developing digital financial reporting and on improving the understandability and accessibility of IFRS Accounting Standards”.
  • Completing current projects. This will include deliberations on current projects such as Primary Financial Statements, Goodwill and Impairment, as well others that will likely continue for the rest of 2022 and into 2023.
  • Adding intangibles and cash flows to work plan. This will involve a comprehensive review of accounting requirements for intangible assets and review of the accounting requirements for the statement of cash flows and related matters.The IASB also identified areas where they can work in tandem with the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) to create a “connected financial reporting package”.
Included in the IASB’s workplan for 2022-2026 for credit unions, is its work on the IFRS for SMEs Accounting Standard. After analyzing feedback, the IFRS decided to maintain its current levels of focus on this activity. With the help of the SME Implementation Group (SMEIG), the IASB will set requirements under the Second Comprehensive Review of the IFRS for SMEs Accounting Standard and develop educational materials for preparers within SMEs (small-to-medium enterprises) to help them apply the accounting standard. This will hopefully aid credit unions in calculating their expected loss calculations and provide for a lighter touch in the implementation of IFRS 9 (CECL in the United States).

 

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IFRS, International Accounting Standards Board

European Parliament and Council Reach Provisional Agreement on MiCA

On June 30, 2022, the European Parliament and the European Council Presidency reached a provisional agreement on the markets in crypto-assets (MiCA) proposal. The proposal encompasses unbacked crypto-assets issuers, stablecoins, trading venues and crypto-asset wallets. Although national-level regulators have already begun to implement crypto-asset legislation, it is the first time that crypto-assets, crypto-assets issuers and crypto-asset service providers are all under a regulatory framework at the EU level.

The goal of MiCA is to protect consumers from investment risks such as fraud, market manipulation, and insider dealing, as well as hold crypto-asset service providers liable for loss. MiCA also requires relevant crypto-asset players to “declare information on their environmental and climate footprint”, and as a follow up, in two years “the European Commission will have to provide a report on the environmental impact of crypto-assets and the introduction of mandatory minimum sustainability standards for consensus mechanisms, including the proof-of-work.” MiCA further requires a public register of non-compliant crypto-asset service providers to be maintained by the European Banking Authority (EBA). Listed providers with parent companies in high-risk areas for money laundering, as well non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes, are subject to additional checks within the EU AML framework. MiCA also has additional requirements related to stablecoins, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and crypto-asset service providers (CASPs) authorizations.

The Council and Parliament will need to approve the provisional agreement before in enters a formal adoption procedure. More information on the provisional agreement on MiCA is available here.

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Council of the European Union

EU Reinforces Rules on Crypto Asset Transfers to Reduce the Use of Cryptocurrencies for Crime

On June 29, 2022, the European Council Presidency and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement and extended the of the scope of a proposal by way of  the "travel rule", which updates transfer of fund rules to include transfer of crypto assets. The rule aims to, “…ensure financial transparency on exchanges in crypto-assets and will provide the EU with a solid and proportional framework that complies with the most demanding international standards on the exchange of crypto-assets, in particular recommendations 15 and 16 of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog.”

The proposal hopes to hold service providers of crypto assets responsible for collecting and providing access to information pertaining to the originators and beneficiaries of those crypto asset transfers in an effort to expand “traceability” as a means to identify and block suspicious transactions, specifically related ML/TF risks. Under the agreement, the GDPR’s data protection rules will continue to apply to the transfer of crypto assets as well as existing sanctions that apply to all natural and legal persons. The provision must undergo confirmation by both the Council and the Parliament before it can be formally adopted.

More information on the provisional agreement is available here.

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Council of the European Union

Basel Discusses AI and Machine Learning

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (Committee) issued a newsletter discussing its internal discussions regarding artificial intelligence and machine learning.  The newsletter made the following observations:

  • Banks are increasingly exploring opportunities for using artificial intelligence (AI), including machine learning (ML). 
  • Banks' use of AI/ML presents significant opportunities but can also heighten certain risks and challenges. 
  • The Committee intends to continue exploring banks' use of AI/ML, especially in the areas of explainability, governance, and resilience and financial stability.

The paper notes that banks are increasingly exploring opportunities for using AI/ML. AI/ML technology is expected to increase banks' operational efficiency and also facilitate improvements in risk management. While significant opportunities are emerging from the increasing use of AI/ML in many areas of banking, there are also risks and challenges associated with these techniques.

It notes that given the challenges associated with AI/ML, both supervisors and banks are assessing existing risk management and governance practices to determine whether roles and responsibilities for identifying and managing risks remain sufficient. As with other complex operations and technologies, it is important that banks have appropriately skilled staff, which can include model developers, model validators, model users and independent auditors. 

The Committee is working to develop further insights on this topic with a focus on the following areas:  

  • First, the extent and degree to which the outcomes of models can be understood and explained.
  • Second, AI/ML model governance structures, including responsibilities and accountability for AI/ML-driven decisions.
  • Third, the potential implications of broader usage of AI/ML models for the resilience of individual banks and more broadly, for financial stability. 

A copy of the newsletter can be viewed here.

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Basel

ENCU Touts Benefits of Credit Unions in EU Report on Social Taxonomy

The European Network of Credit Unions urged the Platform on Sustainable Finance of the European Commission to consider credit unions and the credit union not-for-profit cooperative model to be classified as their own social taxonomy based on the social benefits that credit unions provide to society.

The Platform on Sustainable Finance issued its Final Report on Social Taxonomy wherein it is focused on aligning the structure of a suggested social taxonomy more closely to the existing environmental taxonomy.

In the letter ENCU suggests that credit unions should be designated as their own social taxonomy because their cooperative structure lends itself to different behavior than investor-owned financial institutions and that difference in behavior produces substantial benefits to the world’s millions of credit union members, to non-members, and the economy as a whole.

Access to affordable, reliable and self-sustainable financial services improves lives on many different levels and credit unions work to expand services to people of all income levels. This makes credit unions uniquely positioned to drive how the financial services industry can better foster financial inclusion. Credit unions model places the interests of their members top of mind, prioritizing personable, altruistic service. The “people helping people” philosophy is at the cored of their “DNA” which operates to the social benefit of all.  Financial inclusion and the nexus with sustainable communities is embodied by the credit union cooperative model.

The letter also notes the work of Donore Credit Union in Ireland wherein it has documented the social benefits of its credit union to society.  Their study documents that for every EUR 1 equivalent invested into Donore Credit Union, in the region of EUR 10 of social value was created.  This is an astounding number that could only be accomplished by the unique cooperative model afforded by a credit union.

A copy of the ENCU comment letter can be viewed here.

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European Commission

WOCCU Advocated Proportionality Included in Climate-Related Financial Risks Standard

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision published its Principles for the Effective Management and Supervision of Climate-related Financial Risks. The document forms part of the Committee's holistic approach to addressing climate-related financial risks to the global banking system and seeks to improve banks' risk management and supervisors' practices in this area.

The document outlines numerous principles for addressing climate-related risks that will form the bases of requirements from national level regulators when addressing climate-related risks for financial institutions and credit unions.   The principles outline numerous elements that should be included in national-level rulebooks as follows:

  • internal control framework;
  • capital and liquidity adequacy requirements;
  • a risk management process;
  • management monitoring and reporting requirements;
  • comprehensive management of credit risk requirements;
  • comprehensive management of market, liquidity, operational and other risks, and
  • scenario analyses.

WOCCU commented on this document during the consultation process noting that the principles may result in a significant increase in regulatory burden for smaller, community based deposit taking institutions such as credit unions.  The principle of proportionality is key to allowing credit unions to address climate-related risks, but in a manner appropriate for their size and complexity.

The committee included its strong support of the principle of proportionality by including the following language as follows:

  • The principles seek to accommodate a diverse range of banking systems and are intended to be applied on a proportionate basis depending on the size, complexity and risk profile of the bank or banking sector for which the authority is responsible.
  • Supervisors should set expectations in a manner proportionate to the nature, scale and complexity of relevant banks’ activities.
  • Where appropriate, supervisors should determine that banks have in place a scenario analysis programme that is proportionate to their size, business model and complexity, in order to assess the resilience of their business models and strategies to a range of plausible climate-related outcomes
  • Banks should manage climate-related financial risks in a manner that is proportionate to the nature, scale and complexity of their activities and the overall level of risk that each bank is willing to accept.

This strong embrace of proportionality should provide clear direction to credit union supervisors and regulators to engage in the important and necessary process of tailoring these principles for credit unions in manner that does not impose an unreasonable regulatory burden on credit unions while allowing the regulated entity to address climate-related risks.

A copy of the principles can be viewed here.

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Basel

Basel Committee Finalizes Principles for Climate-Related Financial Risks

On May 27, 2022, the Basel Committee met to contend with matters related to climate related financial risks, cryptoassets, G-SIB assessment methodology, and risks and vulnerabilities in the global banking system. Notably, the Committee finalized principles for the effective management and supervision of climate-related financial risks. They finalized a principles-based approach to improve risk management and supervisory practices devised to mitigate risks associated with climate-related financial risks; and these principles were drafted to include proportional application based on a “diverse range of banking systems”.

The Committee further issued a consultation on “the prudential treatment of banks’ cryptoasset exposures” as a follow-up to its consultation released in 2021 on the ‘Prudential treatment of cryptoasset exposures’. The recently released consultation aims to aid in the continued development of a “global minimum prudential framework” to address risks related to cryptoassets. The Basel Committee also reviewed European Banking Union methodologies on cross-border exposures, as well as risk and vulnerabilities to the global banking system in light of the Ukraine conflict.

More information on the Basel Committee’s May 27th meeting is available here.

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Basel

Central Banks Highlight Ways to Tackle Post-Pandemic Private Debt Build-up

A new report from the Committee on the Global Financial System (CGFS), a central bank forum for examining risks to financial stability, hosted by the Bank for International Settlements, highlights that the rise in private sector debt during the Covid-19 crisis was associated with borrowing by weaker businesses and rapid house price growth. However, it finds that the importance of such debt vulnerabilities differs substantially across countries, depending on factors such as the strength of the economic recovery and the health of the financial system.  The report suggests ways that policymakers can tackle debt vulnerabilities in the uncertain post-pandemic macroeconomic environment.

During the Covid-19 crisis, unprecedented policy support prevented debt risks from materializing. But misperceptions about the prospects for similar support in future could lead lenders to underprice risk. Where risks are mounting, borrower-focused macroprudential tools such as limits on debt service-to-income ratios, can help to stem the build-up. Where debt vulnerabilities are already high, or might be exposed by the uncertain macroeconomic environment, policymakers should ensure that financial institutions' capital buffers remain sufficient to absorb potential losses.

Key findings from the report are as follows:

  • Private sector borrowing played a key role in supporting economic activity during the pandemic but higher debt could now pose a risk to financial stability and economic growth
  • Emerging vulnerabilities include higher debt among weaker businesses, booming housing markets, and potential misperceptions about the prospects for exceptional policy support that might cause lenders to underprice risks in the future
  • A surge in private sector borrowing helped to moderate the severity of the Covid-19 economic downturn. Yet, it also shone a spotlight on the risks that high debt can pose to financial stability and macroeconomic performance, according to a new report.

A copy of the report can be viewed here.

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Bank of International Settlements

WOCCU/ENCU Applauds European Parliament Agreement on Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA)

WOCCU/ENCU Advocated Proportional Treatment Included for Credit Unions

The European Council presidency and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on the Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA), which will overhaul regulations in the financial sector in Europe that sets uniform requirements for the security of network and information systems as well as critical third parties which provide ICT (Information Communication Technologies)- related services to them. This includes services such as cloud platforms and data analytics services.

The World Council of Credit Unions together with its partner the European Network of Credit Unions, and its members from Croatia, Estonia, Ireland, Netherlands, N. Macedonia, Poland, Romania, and Ukraine advocated for the proportional treatment of DORA regulations by urging the governing bodies to consider the size, nature, scale, and complexity of their services, activities, and operations. 

The provisional agreement embraces the WOCCU/ENCU proportionality approach in several ways but most importantly by allowing Member States to establish rules for those entities exempt under Article 2(5) of Directive 2013/36/EU (i.e., CRD IV exempt entities). 

“We thank the European Parliament for listening to our needs and tailoring rules that are appropriate for credit unions but also accomplish our mutual goal of protecting our members information from ICT breaches and ensuring the safe and sound operations of financial institutions”, said Andrew Price, WOCCU Sr. VP of Advocacy/General Counsel. WOCCU/ENCU further thank the many people instrumental in shaping this agreement including:

MEP Billy Kelleher (Ireland), MEP Mairead McGuinness (Ireland), the ENCU Member States (Croatia, Estonia, Ireland, Netherlands, N. Macedonia, Poland, Romania, and Ukraine) and the European Commission.

WOCCU/ENCU will continue to be engaged as the agreement obtains approval by the Council and the European Parliament before going through the formal adoption procedure.

Members of ENCU involved during this process include the following: representatives of the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU), National Association of Co-operative Savings and Credit Unions (NACSCU) of Poland, Federation of Romanian Credit Unions (FEDCAR), Estonian Union of Credit Cooperatives (EUCC), North Macedonia's FULM Savings House, and the Dutch Association of Cooperating Credit Unions (VSK).

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ENCU

European Council Takes Position on 2030 Policy Program ‘Path to the Digital Decade’

On May 11, 2022, the European Council adopted its position on the 2030 Policy Programme “Path to the Digital Decade’, which is designed to “strengthen the EU’s digital leadership” through inclusive and sustainable digital policies. Once the European Parliament has confirmed its position, negotiations between Parliament and Council presidency can take place.

The objective of the mandate endeavors to create “concrete digital targets, including for industry which the Union as a whole must achieve by the end of the decade and a novel form of governance with the member states, through a mechanism of cooperation between the Commission and the member states to ensure that the Union jointly achieves its ambition.” The Council contributed a legal basis to the mandate by adding, with respect to governance, that member states and the Commission must cooperate biennially, but the ‘State of the Digital Decade’ report will remain an annual release. The Council also underscored its accord with the Commission Communication of March 2021 on the 2030 Digital Compass, highlighting the importance of fundamental rights.

More information on the 2030 policy program ‘Path to the Digital Decade’, is available here.

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Council of the European Union

European Council Approves New Law to Promote the Availability of Data

On May 16, 2022, the European Council approved the Data Governance Act, “to promote the availability of data and build a trustworthy environment to facilitate their use for research and the creation of innovative new services and products.” The Act aims to create a system where the reuse of specific public-sector data categories (trade secrets, personal data and data protected by intellectual property rights), are protected to safeguard privacy and confidentiality. This act accompanies the 2019 Open Data Directive, which covers other data categories including but not limited to material held by ministries, state agencies, municipalities, and organizations largely funded by or under the control of public authorities, i.e., meteorological institutes. A single access point consisting of a searchable electronic register of public-sector data will be made available by the European Commission. The Act further intends to implement a framework for data intermediation services via a digital services platform to provide a secure data sharing network for individuals and companies; simplify voluntary data availability for the common good or “objectives of general interest” (i.e. medical research projects), through a national register; and create safeguards for personal data.

More information on the Data Governance Act is available here.

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Council of the European Union

FSB Publishes Report on Interaction Between USD Funding and External Vulnerabilities in EMEs

On April 26, 2022, the Financial Stability Board released a report, US Dollar Funding and Emerging Market Economy Vulnerabilities (EMEs), outlining its findings of work in collaboration with the IMF on the interaction between US dollar funding and external vulnerabilities in emerging market economies. The collaboration with the IMF is part of the FSB’s work programme on non-bank financial intermediation, intended to enhance the resilience of non-bank financial intermediation (NBFI).

The report discusses EME vulnerabilities stemming from foreign currency borrowing, and necessary policy measures to address those vulnerabilities supported by analysis of EME capital flows during March 2020, with an emphasis on the non-bank investor roles. These measures include a concentration on the “build-up of foreign exchange mismatches"; enhancing crisis management tools; and addressing data gaps to "facilitate risk monitoring and the timely adoption of policies.” Generally, the report highlights EME vulnerabilities derived from external funding and non-bank financing, while illuminating the policy work that both the FSB and the IMF must do in their respective countries and internationally to increase EMEs resilience to “future shocks”.

More information on the report and EME vulnerabilities is available here and here.

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Financial Stability Board

FSB Chair Drafts Letter to G20 Highlighting Financial Effects of Russian Invasion of Ukraine

On April 20, 2022, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) published a letter from its Chair, Klass Knot, to the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in preparation for a meeting that took place on the same day. The letter outlined the status of global financial stability as well as the FSB’s plans to address emerging vulnerabilities. The letter further discusses the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the global financial market including large price fluctuations and “concerns about the growth and potential use of crypto-assets”; however, these effects are far exceeded by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the Russian invasion is concerning as it is triggering inflation, which could promote restrictive financing; additionally, growing vulnerabilities may begin to present themselves in a material way, for example, high debt levels within the non-financial sector, and stretched valuations.

Issues of particular concern include linkages between commodity markets and the financial system; “financial system leverage and possible amplifiers in the event of market stress... and cyber risks”; heightened geopolitical tensions and rising energy and food prices within many emerging markets and developing economies are tacked on to already existing economic stressors from the pandemic; and “reduced policy space and tightening global financial conditions”. The FSB outlined actions items that include work on regulation and supervision of unbacked crypto-assets and stablecoins; increased monitoring of emerging vulnerabilities and market developments; continued work on G20 initiatives such as COVID-19 exit strategies and remedies; an upcoming report on US dollar funding and EME vulnerabilities related to external financing; and ongoing policy work related to financial risks from climate change.

More information on the FSB’s letter to the G20 is available here.

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Financial Stability Board, G20

European Council’s Position on European Green Bonds Proposal is Greenlighted

The European Council’s position on a proposal to create regulation supporting European Green Bonds was given the go ahead by EU permanent representatives as part of the EU’s objective to “implement its strategy on financing sustainable growth and the transition to a climate-neutral, resource-efficient economy.” The next steps involve negotiations with Parliament to establish a final version of the text. Issuers of the European Green Bond (EuGB), which are environmentally sustainable bonds, will be subject to uniform requirements when issuing these bonds to investors within the European Union. The regulation will further establishes a registration system and supervisory framework for EU green bonds that are reviewed outside of the Union.

More information on the Council's proposal for European Green Bonds is available here.

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Council of the European Union

Financial Stability Board Publishes Work Programme for 2022

On March 31, 2022, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) published the FSB Work Programme for 2022, which outlines priorities, new initiatives, continuing items or those reaching completion, regular monitoring and reporting, and key deliverables to the G20 Indonesian Presidency. Some of the FSB’s priorities and initiatives include:

  • Supporting international cooperation and coordination on current financial stability issues. This includes reinforced monitoring using the new surveillance framework, in light of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and its economic impacts. Further, the FSB will follow-up “on the lessons learnt from COVID-19 for financial stability report, and a report on exit strategies and effective practices for addressing the effects of COVID-19 scarring in the financial sector.”
  • Enhancing the resilience of non-bank financial intermediation (NBFI). 
  • Enhancing cross-border payments. The FSB will implement actions under its roadmap to enhance cross-border payments; and will deliver a progress report to the G20, along with “the development of key performance indicators to monitor progress towards the quantitative targets for the roadmap.”
  • Harnessing the benefits of digital innovation while containing its risks.  The FSB will focus on crypto-assets, such as decentralised finance (DeFi); and will continue to concentrate on enhancing operational and cyber resilience.
  • Addressing financial risks from climate change. “The FSB will continue to coordinate international work through its roadmap for addressing climate-related financial risks. The FSB’s own initiatives under the roadmap will focus on building and strengthening the analytical basis for monitoring climate-related risks to financial stability; identifying regulatory and supervisory approaches to address climate-related financial risks; and taking stock of progress in the implementation of the roadmap.”

More information on the FSB’s 2022 work programme is available here.

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Financial Stability Board

Basel Committee Releases Newsletter on Third- and Fourth-Party Risk Management and Concentration Risk

The Basel Committee on Banking and Supervision released a newsletter underscoring internal discussions and outreach sessions took place to improve third- and fourth-party risk management and concentration risk to support day-to-day activities for banks and supervisors. The newsletter further highlighted concerns regarding operational risks that have emerged during the pandemic related to third-party provided technology-based services. Last month the Basel Committee, in response to some of these issues, released Principles for Operational Resilience (POR) and revised its Principles for the Sound Management of Operational Risk (PSMOR). During the Committee’s outreach sessions with private sector participants and supervisors, it was noted that:

  • “Primary gaps relating to firms' third-party risk management include a lack of clarity regarding respective bank and service provider responsibilities, insufficient monitoring of critical fourth parties, inadequate challenge or oversight from second lines of defence, and a lack of developed and tested business continuity plans.
  • Banks and supervisors are concerned that a lack of complete supply chain transparency may increase operational risk. Risk-management efforts are focused on immediate suppliers, though key risks stemming from outsourcing arrangements may be driven by suppliers further down the supply chain.
  • While several banks maintain formal exit strategies with respect to critical suppliers, they often lack sufficient detail and testing, and identifying the appropriate stage to execute a strategy can be unclear.
  • There are a range of tools for managing operational disruptions, such as the substitutability of a third-party service provider and contracting for enhanced resilience options or service levels offered by service providers. Exit strategies designed to guide transitions that occur over longer time periods may not be as useful as other tools for curing operational disruptions.”

The full newsletter is available here.

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Basel

WOCCU Urges G20 to Help Credit Unions Advance Financial Inclusion

The World Council of Credit Unions (World Council) urged the G20 to continue its commitment to financial inclusion and its objective reduce inequalities and promote inclusive growth.   Specifically, World Council asked the G20 to direct the international standard setting bodes to work closely with national-level regulators to fully adopt proportional tailoring of regulations for the purposes of advancing financial inclusion.

National-level regulators are often reticent to tailor international norms and standards for fear that a deviation may subject them to criticism from other nations or fear of an unintended consequence as a result of right-sizing regulations.  The result is that credit unions are often prevented from serving underserved or marginalized populations, thus leading to financial exclusion.

The collective international credit union movement is urging the G20 to take action to enhance its embrace of financial inclusion and work with the many challenges faced by national-level regulators in achieving financial inclusion vis-à-vis proportionality.  Proportionality, if applied appropriately, can significantly advance the G20’s goals of promoting financial inclusion by fostering responsible finance through increased access to responsible and affordable financial services.

The G20 this year is headed by the Presidency in Bali, Indonesia with a Leaders’ Declaration expected to be issued at the 2022 G20 Bali Summit in November. 

 A copy of the letter can be viewed here.

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G20

FSB Releases Report on FinTech’s Impact During the COVID-19 Pandemic

On March 21, 2022, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) released a report entitled, FinTech and Market Structure in the COVID-19 Pandemic: Implications for financial stability. The key takeaway of the report credited the COVID-19 pandemic for the acceleration of digitization of retail financial services. The report also discussed individual engagement with “innovative financial service providers and traditional financial incumbents”; the expansion of BigTechs and larger FinTechs into financial services and the data gaps they present; and whether the benefits of digital acceleration during the pandemic will become structural or will “revert back” to pre-pandemic levels as the current conditions go back to normal.

While the FSB commented that the arrival of BigTech and FinTech firms in the market could result in the improvement of cost efficiencies and broaden financial inclusion benefits for underserved groups, some concern was expressed over the risk that BigTech and FinTech firms may achieve market dominance. The report further laid out steps authorities have made during the pandemic to establish policy actions related to financial stability, competition, data privacy, and governance issues. It also stressed “the importance of cooperation between regulatory and supervisory authorities, including those charged with overseeing the bank and non-bank sectors, and where relevant, with competition and data protection authorities.”

More information on the FSB’s report is available here.

See also, BIS Releases Commentary Crediting Covid-19 for the Acceleration of Digitalization of Payments.

 

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Financial Stability Board

WOCCU Applauds FATF Strengthening of Beneficial Ownership Standards

The Financial Action Task Force made amendments to FATF Recommendation 24 and its Interpretive Note to strengthen the international standards on beneficial ownership of legal persons to ensure greater transparency about the ultimate ownership and control of legal persons.  This not only will mitigate the risks of their misuse, but will require Countries to have a public authority or body function as a beneficial ownership registry (or alternative mechanism) that can provide efficient access to adequate, accurate and up-to-date beneficial ownership information by competent authorities.

If implemented properly, these changes have the potential to reduce the regulatory burden for credit unions at account opening when performing due diligence for purposes of their AML/CFT requirements.  Obtaining beneficial ownership information often present numerous challenges for credit unions and at times can prevent access to legitimate financial transactions or services.

Further, the rules will address the significant misuses of legal persons for money laundering, terrorist financing, and also for proliferation financing in many jurisdictions. 

WOCCU has consistently called for such a database to be maintained by national authorities that credit unions can rely on when performing their AML/CFT obligations. 

A copy of the release by FATF can be viewed here.

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FATF

Basel Committee Releases Newsletter on COVID-19 Related Credit Risk Issues

On March 2, 2022, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision issued a newsletter on COVID-19 related credit risk issues they believe will be helpful to support the day-to-day activities of banks and supervisors. The newsletter addresses: the Committee’s intention to continue to assess credit risk and asset quality by maintaining their monitoring of bank practices, in addition to administering necessary provisions; observations from supervisors regarding policies and practices across banks' credit risk governance and credit risk models; and challenges to assessing the creditworthiness of borrowers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Committee highlighted that the key applicable elements of risk include, risks related to supervisory concerns that residual support measures may mask creditworthiness and therefore borrowers’ “future debt servicing capacity"; supervisory fears over whether bank provisions are capturing risk; uncertainty that supervisors feel around the adequacy of governance or boards to assess unlikeliness to pay (UTP), in addition to “incorporating public support measures in data reporting”; and supervisory observations that banks are applying “sizeable judgment-based adjustments to their internal ratings-based (IRB) approach and provisioning models, reflecting the pandemic environment,” as well as their belief that bank controls and governance that support model adjustments need improvement.

The Committee will continue to focus on the following credit risk topics in 2022:

  • “particular asset classes (eg residential real estate, commercial real estate and leveraged lending) that may be generating supervisory concerns in specific regions;
  • indicators and triggers for UTP assessments, particularly for loans subject to moratoriums;
  • controls and governance around credit risk models and model adjustments in the pandemic environment; and
  • the use and incorporation of data over the COVID-19 period, particularly whether and how it should inform future credit model development, testing and validation.”

More information on the Basel Committee’s newsletter is available here.

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Bank of International Settlements, Basel