Last updated: 25 June 2018 (Q1.4)
No maximum or minimum maturity has been defined for the programme.
No minimum issuance volume has been defined for the programme.
If multiple, and possibly conflicting, ECAI assessments are available (i.e. external credit ratings provided by any of the four external credit assessment institutions, or eligible credit rating institutions, namely Standard & Poor’s, Fitch, Moody’s and DBRS), the first-best rule will be applied. For covered bonds that do not have the credit quality step 3 rating in Cyprus and Greece, a minimum asset rating at the level of the maximum achievable covered bond rating defined for the jurisdiction will be required.
In principle, all covered bonds that comply with the eligibility criteria established in Annex I to the Guideline (ECB/2011/14) as amended and that, in addition, fulfil the conditions laid out in the fifth paragraph of Section 22.214.171.124 are eligible. From 1 May 2015, Guideline (ECB/2011/14) has been replaced by Guideline (ECB/2014/60) as amended. The rules for the own-use of covered bonds are now set out in Article 138 of that Guideline.
Concretely, this Article states that the Eurosystem exempts specific debt instruments from the “close links” rule. As such, covered bonds can be “own-used” as collateral by the issuer (or by a closely linked counterparty) if they are CRD/CRR-compliant. The actual or potential inclusion of government-guaranteed bank bonds in a pool of covered bonds pursuant to Article 139(1)(b) of Guideline (ECB/2014/60) does not affect the eligibility of such covered bonds for own-use.
Multi-cédulas are considered eligible for CBPP3 purchases as clarified in the ECB Decision of 15 October 2014 (ECB/2014/40).
Namenspfandbriefe are not eligible under the Eurosystem collateral framework, as these instruments do not meet the criterion that a debt instrument must be transferable in book-entry form (Section 126.96.36.199, “Settlement procedures”, of Guideline ECB/2011/14). Instead, the transfer of a Namenspfandbrief usually takes the form of an assignment, as the owner is registered in a separate register.
Purchases made under the CBPP3, which are monetary policy operations and constitute supply of reserves, make no distinction between covered bonds issued by public sector credit institutions and those issued by private sector institutions. This is in line with the provisions of paragraph 2 of Article 123 of the Treaty.
No, the 70% limit applies to the combined holdings of all three of the Eurosystem’s covered bond purchase programmes and the Eurosystem’s investment portfolios.
It is up to individual institutions to manage their own funding sources, including liability structure, maturity breakdown and any decision between the market-placement and retention of bonds.
As a rule, income and losses from decentralised monetary policy operations conducted by the Eurosystem are shared.
For efficiency reasons, the Eurosystem’s internal decisions on the allocation of particular purchases to its members take due account of their specific competencies.
If all eligibility criteria are fulfilled, the remaining outstanding amount of the covered bonds can be used as collateral in Eurosystem credit operations.
For cost efficiency and operational reasons, securities lending of holdings under CBPP3 is not mandatory for Eurosystem central banks. The establishment and maintenance of securities lending arrangements has a certain cost for the Eurosystem central banks. The total cost depends on a number of factors, such as the lending channel, the lending infrastructure, the number of securities available for lending, the type of collateral accepted and other technical and operational parameters. The overall Eurosystem cost increases if several central banks make the same security available for lending.
Covered bonds purchased under the CBPP3 are often held by several (i.e. more than two) Eurosystem central banks, which is due to the programme-specific allocation of the eligible universe to individual Eurosystem central banks. This is in contrast to the PSPP and CSPP allocation, where each security is held by one or at most two Eurosystem central banks. Moreover, the CBPP3 allocation often results in individual central banks having relatively small holdings, so that the benefit of setting up and maintaining securities lending facilities would not justify the cost. However, even though lending the CBPP3 holdings is not mandatory, the ECB and several other national central banks make their CBPP3 (as well as CBPP and CBPP2) bonds available for lending. Those Eurosystem central banks that do not make their holdings available for lending very rarely receive requests to borrow them. For them, the expected demand would not justify the cost of establishing securities lending facilities. Most importantly, holdings from each covered bond jurisdiction are made available for lending by at least one Eurosystem central bank.
The Eurosystem publishes the ISIN lists only for those programmes (PSPP and CSPP) for which the Governing Council has decided to make securities lending mandatory. Thus the Eurosystem does not publish the ISIN lists for its CBPP3 holdings as securities lending is not mandatory for this programme. Counterparties that wish to borrow CBPP3 holdings can contact the ECB or any NCB that makes those bonds available for lending to enquire about the potentially availability of their holdings of particular ISINs.
Lending of covered bonds held in the CBPP portfolios can be conducted through matched repo and reverse repo transactions. This means that a covered bond can be lent in repos to eligible counterparties against cash, which can then be reinvested against another eligible bond. Lending is voluntary and may be decided by each Eurosystem member separately.
Each Eurosystem member lending CBPP3 bonds sets the rate and agrees the eligible collateral with counterparties.
The holdings under CBPP1 and CBPP2 are available for lending to the broader set of counterparties eligible for CBPP3. Lending is voluntary and may be decided by each Eurosystem member separately.
In this specific case we would agree that, for the CBPP3, counterparties could communicate that the Eurosystem had been buying, but not the exact amounts, the securities involved or which Eurosystem member.
Information on CBPP3 holdings can be found in the section Asset purchase programmes.
In the case of covered bonds, net supply has been negative owing to low new issuance since 2013. The CBPP3 could trigger more primary issuance if interested issuers find the issuance levels attractive.
The Eurosystem will be purchasing covered bonds at prevailing market prices or, in the case of retained bonds, at prices that take into appropriate consideration all embedded risks.
Even if the market is small/non-existent at the moment, the mere fact that the Eurosystem is willing to buy asset-backed securities and covered bonds could encourage banks from these jurisdictions to issue such instruments.
Covered bonds have some features that are important from a monetary policy perspective.
First, the link that is established on the issuing bank’s balance sheet between the covered bond, on the one hand, and the loans that back the covered bond, on the other, is reasonably tight. As the prices for covered bonds increase, we expect banks to respond by originating more covered bonds and thus more loans to collateralise them.
Second, outright interventions in this market will complement other purchases by reinforcing the portfolio rebalancing channels of monetary policy transmission and generating positive spillovers into other markets and securities. This will further ease funding and credit conditions.
Third, taken together, the Eurosystem’s non-conventional measures should be seen as complementary to one another, strengthening the combined impact on liquidity and the economy.
Finally, purchases take due account of market functioning.
The ECB decided to harmonise publication practices regarding the different monetary policy portfolios. In particular, for the covered bond purchase programmes and the Asset-Backed Securities Purchase Programme, it was decided to adopt the publication practices already in place for the Securities Markets Programme to ensure greater consistency. The weekly publication of the settled amounts is in line with the medium-term objectives of the programmes and is consistent with the weekly release of the Eurosystem financial statement.
There is no legal basis on which the ECB could either claim or enforce preferred creditor status in the event of a default on covered bonds it has purchased under the CBPP3. That said, covered bonds qualify as senior secured debt, which is explicitly exempt, under Article 38(1)(b) of the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive, from any bail-in measure in the event of bank resolution.
The Eurosystem has noted the increasing number of consent solicitations in the euro area covered bond market and has continued to thoroughly examine the merits of each individual case in developing a consistent approach towards such consent solicitations.
The Eurosystem will normally aim to adopt a neutral approach towards consent solicitations thereby facilitating a market-based decision on the changes proposed. Furthermore, the Eurosystem is of the view that improvements could be made to two features of the consent solicitation process:
Yes, the Eurosystem can participate in the purchase of CBPP3 eligible covered bonds via private placement. Similarly to public placements and purchases in the secondary market and as outlined in the CBPP3 Technical Annex 2, the Eurosystem will apply an issue share limit of 70% per ISIN, except in the case of eligible covered bonds issued by issuers in Greece and Cyprus and not fulfilling the CQS3 rating requirement, for which an issue share limit of 30% per ISIN will be applied. Market participants involved in the private placement can contact the relevant national central bank which acts as the contact point for the Eurosystem.