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Macroprudential measures taken by national authorities since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic

European and national authorities have taken swift measures to address the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the financial sector. Several euro area macroprudential authorities (including central banks and banking supervisors) have reduced capital requirements, including the countercyclical capital buffer (CCyB) and other macroprudential buffers. These measures amount to more than €20 billion of Common Equity Tier 1 capital held by euro area banks, facilitate the absorption of credit losses and support lending to the economy.

These macroprudential actions complement and reinforce the measures announced by ECB Banking Supervision since 12 March 2020.

Measures taken by macroprudential authorities in euro area countries since 11 March 2020

last update: 13 July 2021

  • Countercyclical capital buffer (CCyB) – Among the seven euro area countries with positive rates, France, Ireland and Lithuania reduced the CCyB to 0%, while Belgium, Germany and Slovakia revoked the previously announced CCyB activations. Slovakia subsequently further reduced its CCyB to 1%. Of the countries with which the ECB has established close cooperation, Bulgaria also revoked the previously announced CCyB increase. Reciprocity arrangements require banks to apply the CCyB rate of the country in which the exposures are located, irrespective of the bank’s location. As a result, euro area bank requirements have not only been lowered due to CCyB reductions in euro area countries, but also due to those in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hong Kong, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
  • Systemic risk buffer (SyRB) – Estonia and Finland fully released the SyRB to 0% while the Netherlands reduced the existing 3% SyRB for three institutions.
  • Other systemically important institutions (O-SII) buffer – In addition to the reductions in the SyRB, Finland and the Netherlands also decided to lower the O-SII buffer for one bank each. For the institutions in Finland this results in an effective reduction of the combined structural buffers (SyRB and O-SII buffers) by 1% of risk weighted assets. Cyprus, Greece, Lithuania and Portugal announced that they will delay the phase-in of O-SII buffers by one year for all or for some O-SIIs.
  • Postponing the introduction of announced measures and non-renewal of existing measures – The Netherlands postponed the introduction of capital surcharges on domestic mortgage loan exposures under Article 458 of the Capital Requirements Regulation (CRR). Finland decided not to renew the risk weight floor on internal ratings based (IRB) mortgage exposures under the same article beyond 1 January 2021.
  • Other adjustments related to the entry into force of the amended Capital Regulations Directive (CRD IV) – Buffers for systemically important institutions (global and other) and institution-specific SyRB buffers will now become cumulative as a result of amendments linked to the CRD V. O-SII buffers can also be increased beyond 2.0%. These regulatory changes have resulted in buffer rate adjustments in some countries to avoid changes in the combined buffer requirement (CBR) for systemically important institutions that would not be commensurate to risks. The Netherlands fully released the SyRB and raised the O SII buffer for one institution above 2.0%, resulting in a stable CBR for all systemically important institutions. Croatia replaced the existing two SyRB rates of 3.0% and 1.5% with a single SyRB rate of 1.5%, resulting in an unchanged CBR. Austria lowered the SyRB and O-SII buffers, resulting in a stable CBR for all systemically important institutions. Slovakia has announced that, with effect from 1 January 2022, it will abolish the SyRB and change the O-SII buffers, resulting in a stable CBR for all systemically important institutions.

Chart 1

Macro- and microprudential measures, worth over €140 billion, make it easier for banks to use capital to absorb losses and support lending

CET1 capital stack and remaining macroprudential capital buffers in the euro area

(Q4 2019, € billions)

Sources: COREP (common reporting), notifications of national designated authorities and websites of national authorities.
Notes: The sample covers significant and less significant institutions, consolidated at the euro area level. Microprudential adjustments include the decision on the regulatory adjustment of the Pillar 2 Requirements (P2R) and making the guidance temporarily usable, see press release by ECB Banking Supervision on 20 March 2020. Macroprudential adjustments include the releases of the countercyclical capital buffer (CCyB), the systemic risk buffer (SyRB) and the other systemically important institutions (O-SII) buffer. Revoked CCyB announcements and postponed O-SII are not taken into account to calculate the total capital released. The chart does not include buffer changes that took place after July 2020. Detailed measures taken to mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic

Countercyclical capital buffer (CCyB)

(Article 136 of the Capital Requirements Directive IV)

Country

Previously announced rate
(announced by 29 February 2020 with date of implementation)

Implemented
(by 29 February 2020)

Latest rates notified to the ECB
(by 31 March 2021 with date for application)

Additional information

Belgium

0.5%

01/07/2020

0%

0%

01/04/2020

Revoked decision on announced CCyB

Germany

0.25%

01/07/2020

0%

0%

01/04/2020

Revoked decision on announced CCyB

France

0.5%

02/04/2020

0.25%

0%

02/04/2020

Revoked decision on announced CCyB and release of implemented CCyB

Ireland

1%

05/07/2019 

1%

0%

01/04/2020

Lithuania

1%

30/06/2019

1%

0%

01/04/2020

Slovakia

2%

01/08/2020

1.5%

1%

01/08/2020

Revoked decision on announced CCyB and reduced implemented CCyB

Systemic risk buffer (SyRB)

(Article 133 of the Capital Requirements Directive IV)

Country

Previously announced rate
(announced by 29 February 2020)

Implemented
(by 29 February 2020)

Latest rates notified to the ECB
(by 31 March 2021 with date for application)

Additional information

Estonia

1%

1%

0%

01/05/2020

Finland

1%-3%

1%-3%

0%

17/04/2020

Netherlands

3%

3%

1.5%-2.5%

23/04/2020

Other systemically important institutions (O-SII) buffer

(Article 131 of the Capital Requirements Directive IV)

Country

Previously announced rate
(announced by 29 February 2020 with date of implementation)

Implemented
(by 29 February 2020)

Latest rates notified to the ECB
(by 31 March 2021 with date for application)

Additional information

Cyprus

0.38% - 1.50%

01/01/2021

0.25%-1%

0.25%-1%

Postponement of remaining phase-in by 12 months

Finland

0.5%- 2%

0.5%-2%

0.5%-2%

17/03/2020

Reduced O-SII buffer for one bank

Greece

0.75%

01/01/2021

0.50%

0.50%

Postponement of remaining phase-in by 12 months

Lithuania

1%-2%

01/01/2021

0.5%-2%

0.5%-2%

Postponement of remaining phase-in by 12 months for one bank

Netherlands

1% - 2%

1%-2%

1%-2%

23/04/2020

Reduced O-SII buffer for one bank

Portugal

0.25% - 1%

01/01/2021

0.19%-0.75%

0.19%-0.75%

Postponement of remaining phase-in by 12 months

Adjustments to risk weights

(Article 458 of the Capital Requirements Regulation)

Country

Previously notified measure to the ECB

Latest measure notified to the ECB

Additional information

Netherlands

Floor on risk weights of domestic mortgage loan exposures of IRB banks foreseen for Q3 2020. The floor increases with the loan-to-value ratio of the underlying mortgage loans.

Postponement of announced measure 

Source: Notifications by national authorities and ECB calculations.

Implemented macroprudential measures in countries subject to ECB Banking Supervision and notified to the ECB

Under the SSM Regulation (EU Regulation No 1024/2013), the ECB has been assigned specific powers in the field of macroprudential policies. In particular, the ECB is responsible for assessing macroprudential measures adopted by national authorities in the countries subject to ECB Banking Supervision.

The ECB has the power to apply, if deemed necessary, more stringent measures than adopted nationally to address risks to financial stability. The powers are based on Article 5 of the SSM Regulation and Article 13h of the Rules of Procedure of the ECB (ECB/2014/1), OJ L 95, 29.3.2014.

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