Tale/innlegg | Dato: 17.11.2010
– Det ville gi feil signaler og være vanskelig, hvis ikke umulig, å svekke denne viktige delen av vår finansregulering, sier finansminister Sigbjørn Johnsen.
Finansminister Sigbjørn Johnsens innlegg i møte mellom økonomi- og finansministre i EU (ECOFIN) og finansministrene i EFTA, Brussel 17. november 2010.
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
Thank you, Mr Chairman,
Let me start by taking the opportunity to underline the need for a sound fiscal balance as a basis for all government action. We must build up our reserves in the good times, and remember the needs of future generations.
Let me also underline the importance of sound financial regulation, which can be maintained in both good and bad times.
I will in this context point out the need to find pragmatic solutions for EEA EFTA State participation as observers in the new European Supervisory Structure, both in the three new Authorities for banking, insurance and securities markets, and in the new Systemic Risk Board.
I will use this opportunity to bring up an issue which is very important for Norway, and that I have already discussed with some of you. Bank saving is widespread in Norway, and the public trust in the banks is high.
Norway has a deposit guarantee scheme that has served us well, both through the national banking crisis 20 years ago, and in the recent international financial crisis. According to a recent OECD study, Norway was the only country in the EU/EEA area which did not have to issue State guarantees for banks, or expand the deposit guarantee, during the recent financial crisis.
The (level of the) Norwegian bank deposit guarantee is 250.000 Euro per depositor per bank. The deposite guarantee scheme is an integrated part of the total Norwegian financial regulation, and it is well known among Norwegian depositors and in the general public. It would give very wrong signals and be very difficult, if not impossible, for me to weaken this important part of our financial regulation.
The EU has recently adopted one set of amendments to the deposit guarantee directive, including a harmonisation of the deposit guarantee coverage level. Currently, the Council and the Parliament are discussing a new set of amendments to deposit guarantees proposed by the Commission. If we take these directives into the EEA Agreement, they will also be binding for the EEA EFTA States. It is, however, possible to make certain amendments when EU Directives are transformed into EEA Acts.
If Norway should adjust to a 100.000 Euro deposit guarantee level, we would have to reduce the guarantee level with 60 pct (from 250.000 Euro to 100.000 Euro). What we need , is an amendment which allows Norway to maintain the present deposit guarantee coverage level of 250.000 Euro.
Let me, in this context, underline that with the 100.000 Euro coverage, 72 pct of the total amount of deposits in the EU are covered. In Norway, with the same coverage limit, only 47 pct of deposits would be covered. Even with the present 250.000 Euro level, only 58 pct of the total amount of deposits in Norway are covered.
The Norwegian deposit guarantee scheme has not distorted competition between banks in other countries and Norwegian banks. To secure that non-distorted competition will be the case also in the future, we will maintain topping up opportunities, which allow branches of foreign banks in Norway to provide the same high guarantee to their depositors as Norwegian banks, and an export ban, which precludes Norwegian banks from providing the high guarantee to depositors in other countries.