by Beat Bernet and Susanna Walter, Vienna, December 2009
One of the important consequences to be drawn from the course of the financial crisis up to now is the insight that more attention must be paid in the future to the factors of liquidity, liquidity management and liquidity protection. That holds true for the protection of the stability of an individual bank as it does forthat of a whole national or even international financial system. The liquidity problems of a bank can certainly have a variety of causes. However, as an examination of the history of bank insolvencies and financial crises shows, an accelerated withdrawal of bank deposits by unsecured customers nearlyalways leads in the end to the collapse of an institution and, as an ultimate consequence, to a national or even international banking crisis. This insight has also brought the deposit insurance institutions in manycountries around the world to the attention of political, regulatory and banking management discussions. The rapid, politically necessary, factually often not well founded, guarantee promises made by many governments haveshown those responsible that in Europe the need for a fundamental revision of the present deposit insurance schemes must be urgently addressed. In most industrialized countries of the OECD, as well as in a range of other states,working groups are studying the necessary revisions and adjustments of the relevant institutions to meet the new economic and political conditions. Even if solutions of this sort continue to be arranged differently from one country to another on the basis of differing regulatory, historical and structural circumstances, a consensus is emerging over the important basic questions of deposit insurance system design and architecture. As a result of the worldwide financial crisis most European countries massively increased their coverage limits for their national deposit insurance schemes in the fall of 2008. Where no deposit insurance existed, it was introduced. Existing systems were critically scrutinized. In most countries the maximum insurance coverage was raised and the eligible deposit base was extended. Some individual states have even promised an unlimited deposit protection (in some cases with a time restriction). Under the pressure of an increasing number of bank failures these promises were made without revising the existing deposit insurance schemes themselves. In the course of 2009, both the individual European states and the EU itself then set about scrutinizing their existing protection schemes and mechanisms and revising the existing national deposit insurance schemes.
It is accepted throughout the world that well designed deposit insurance is an important element in a national safety net for maintaining and extending the stability of the financial system. The design and structure, but also the implementation, of a deposit insurance scheme (DIS) of this sort throws upnumerous institutional, procedural and instrumental questions. Such operative and strategic issues must be answered against the background of the overall national circumstances and in line with the country specific realities of the respective financial intermediate system. However, there is a series of topics that can be assessed and solved independently of such individual circumstances. This is even more the case since the worldwide revision of the deposit insurance schemes offers the opportunity to create the conditions for a future harmonization of national deposit insurance schemes at least within Europe. An assimilation of this sort is, in turn, the basis for future EU-wide or perhaps even European depositor protection, which, like any broadly based guarantee, would certainly be more efficient than a multitude of national solutions.
This publication intends to make a contribution to the ongoing discussion of the complex questions connected with the further development of European deposit insurance schemes. Both complementing and extending the broad range of theoretical literature available, it focuses on some key design questions of modern deposit insurance schemes, on the discussion of their basic structural elements and on the appropriate consequences for the stakeholders in deposit insurance.
We focus on:
• the derivation of the most important requirements of a modern European deposit insurance, and the
• discussion of specific organizational aspects and fundamental institutional requirements as well as of solutions for selected system building blocks.
The first chapter analyzes the institutional framework of deposit insurance schemes and its various aspects of cost/benefit considerations. The second chapter discusses the fundamentals of modern deposit insurance. The third chapter examines selected strategic and instrumental questions concerning the organization and implementation of deposit insurance schemes. The fourth chapter focuses on some questions related to the international harmonization and coordination of the design of deposit insurance schemes. In all sections we address some lessons learned from the recent financial turmoil. The fifth chapter finally addresses some conclusions and sketches some policy implications for designing and implementing a modern deposit insurance scheme.
Keywords: deposit insurance, risk-based premium, risk-adjusted pricing, premium calculator, system risk, fund size, funding, guarantee promises, depositor categories, eligible deposits, covered deposits, membership, expected loss, pan-european deposit insurance system, moral hazard, resolution regime, payout.
JEL Codes: G1, G18, G21, G22, G28, G30, G32, G33
ISBN No.: 978-3-902109-50-7
Authors: Beat Bernet and Susanna Walter
Editors: Morten Balling
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