Supervisory authorities should systematically communicate their expectations, analytical assumptions and methodologies. This ensures these are predictable and the authorities are accountable, helps supervised banks to comply, and safeguards a level playing field. Policy documents used by the ECB for this purpose may be broadly divided into two categories: supervisory guidance documents and supervisory reports.
The ECB’s supervisory guidance documents provide transparency about how the ECB carries out its supervisory work and explain its supervisory expectations towards supervised banks.
The SSM Supervisory Manual describes the organisational set-up of European banking supervision and outlines the methodologies and processes for carrying out supervisory tasks. It also explains cooperation with other supervisory authorities within and outside the EU.
Supervisory guides specify the criteria and procedures applied in the different areas of supervisory work, e.g. when granting banking licences or when assessing the suitability of proposed board members. They may also describe the ECB’s approach to key market-wide topics, such as the treatment of non-performing loans or climate-related and environmental risks.
Supervisory letters are addressed to managers of supervised banks and convey non-binding guidance on current prudential issues and risks.
Documents providing guidance are complemented by the ECB’s supervisory reports that look more at past activities. They give account of the key supervisory activities completed within European banking supervision and summarise their findings:
SREP reports present the aggregate results of the annual comprehensive examinations of supervised banks.
Thematic reports are one-off publications presenting the outcomes of targeted supervisory reviews, such as reports on banks’ risk reporting practices or recovery plans.
Annual reports on supervisory activities set out a general overview of the operations of European banking supervision and highlight key trends in the banking sector that affect compliance with prudential requirements. The ECB must publish an annual report as part of its accountability obligations. Annual reports are submitted to the European Parliament, Council, Commission and the Eurogroup, and are shared with national parliaments.
In 2014 the ECB submitted four quarterly reports to the European Parliament on the progress of the operational implementation of European banking supervision, in accordance with the Interinstitutional Agreement between the two institutions.