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COVID-19: Central Bank govs back strategy to mitigate risks

The oversight body of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision-the Group of Central Bank Governors and Heads of Supervision (GHOS)-at the weekend endorsed a coordinated approach to mitigating Covid-19 risks to the global banking system. In a press release, the Basel Committee, which is the primary global standard setter for the prudential regulation of banks and provides a forum for cooperation on banking supervisory matters, noted that as the Covid-19 crisis continues to unfold, the vulnerabilities and risks to the global banking system will evolve.

In order to tackle the challenge, the committee said that the GHOS members gave it the task of, “continuing to pursue a coordinated approach in responding to the crisis, to preserve a global level playing field and to avoid regulatory fragmentation.” According to the statement, the coordinated approach comprises elements such as: “An ongoing monitoring and assessment of vulnerabilities and risks to the global banking system from Covid-19, and information-sharing of supervisory insights during the crisis; encouraging the use of flexibility embedded in the Basel framework, where relevant; monitoring the implementation of temporary adjustments to mitigate current risks to the banking system, to ensure they are consistent with the objectives of the Basel framework and are unwound in a timely manner; and, where necessary and prudent, adopting addition al global measures in a coordinated manner.

“The GHOS members also unanimously reiterated their expectation for the full, timely and consistent implementation of all aspects of the Basel III framework. Doing so will help to lock in the benefits of these standards to ensure that banks can withstand future crises,” the statement added. Consequently, the GHOS members, the statement said, “agreed to mark, with the present agreement on the Basel III framework, a clear end to the post- Global Financial Crisis (GFC) Basel III policy agenda. Any further potential adjustments to Basel III will be limited in nature and consistent with the Committee’s evaluation work.”

In addition, it stated that the GHOS also endorsed a series of recommendations from the Basel Committee to focus its policy and supervisory agenda on future risks to the global banking system and its vulnerabilities. “The recommendations followed a strategic review conducted by the Committee over the past year. The Committee’s future work will focus on new and emerging topics including structural trends in the banking sector, the ongoing digitalisation of finance and climate-related financial risk,” it said.

Noting that the global banking system entered the Covid-19 crisis with ample capital and liquidity, thanks to the Basel III reforms implemented after the GFC, the statement emphasized that: “A robust regulatory framework underpins confidence in banks’ soundness and helps to maintain a level playing field internationally.” “The timely measures pursued by the Committee at the start of the pandemic and the GHOS’s agreement to revise the implementation timeline for outstanding Basel III standards added to the unprecedented range of fiscal and monetary support measures that have buttressed banks’ resilience thus far,” it said.

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