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As the European banking supervisor, the ECB can take a number of supervisory decisions, which are legally binding on banks under the Single Supervisory Mechanism.

These include:

  • setting micro- and macroprudential capital requirements (“buffers”)
  • deciding on the significance status of supervised banks
  • granting or withdrawing banking licences
  • assessing banks’ acquisition and disposal of qualifying holdings
  • imposing enforcement measures and sanctions on significant banks

How are decisions taken?

The Supervisory Board, as an internal body of the ECB, prepares the draft decisions, which are adopted by the Governing Council under the non-objection procedure. If the Governing Council does not object within a defined period of time, the decision is deemed adopted.

Apart from that, other decisions on the general framework (e.g. the SSM Framework Regulation) are taken by the Governing Council outside the non-objection procedure.

Separation principle

To prevent conflicts of interest between monetary policy and supervisory responsibilities, the ECB ensures a separation of objectives, decision-making processes and tasks. This includes strict separation of the Governing Council’s meetings.

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