The “Never again” Reform Agenda
In 2008, EU leaders swore that taxpayers would “never again” pay for banks’ irresponsible risk-taking. Importantly, the post-crisis financial reform agenda promised to:
1. Separate banks’ commercial and trading activities
2. Reduce banks’ leverage
3. Reduce the financial system’s procyclicality
4. Prevent impacts of a single bank failure from spreading to the whole financial system by preparing “living wills” for banks
Abandoned Regulatory Ambitions
Under pressure from the financial lobby, these reforms were significantly watered-down or even abandoned: we did not split megabanks, banks’ leverage is still ridiculously high, and the European co-legislators are about to deviate from the internationally agreed bank “minimum safety rules”. They even lowered the safety standards for banks to handle synthetic securitisations, notorious for their role in the subprime crisis.
SVB and Credit Suisse: A Wake-Up Call
In March 2023 came the latest warning shot: We narrowly escaped a new full-blown global financial crisis, thanks to unprecedented public intervention in the US and Switzerland. Trust in European banks was shaken and we barely avoided a wave of contagion where taxpayers’ money would have been lost bailing out too-big-too-fail banks.
Reforming the Financial System for Good
Finance Watch is working hard to put ambitious financial reform at the top of the European agenda. As we take decision-makers to task during the 2024 EU elections – a crucial moment to raise the ambition for a safer financial system – we need your help more than ever! Even a small donation makes a difference…
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ABOUT FINANCE WATCH
Finance Watch is an independently funded public interest association dedicated to making finance work for the good of society. Its mission is to strengthen the voice of society in the reform of financial regulation by conducting advocacy and presenting public interest arguments to lawmakers and the public. Finance Watch’s members include consumer groups, housing associations, trade unions, NGOs, financial experts, academics and other civil society groups that collectively represent a large number of European citizens. Finance Watch’s founding principles state that finance is essential for society in bringing capital to productive use in a transparent and sustainable manner, but that the legitimate pursuit of private interests by the financial industry should not be conducted to the detriment of society.
SAMPLES OF RECENT FINANCE WATCH WORK
Open letter for a Basel-Compliant Europe | Read our civil society letter to EU lawmakers here
Latest report on public finance | Discover our recommendations for the review of the EU fiscal rules
Policy work on social media | Read this sample of our digital advocacy
Our last cartoon: access to cash | Discover our educationals and beginner’s guides
A recent educational on sustainable finance | Read our explainer to understand the need for a #oneforonerule
Finance Watch annual report 2022 | Find out more about our work last year