Euribor revamp aims to attract wider pool of banks
By Marc Jones and Huw Jones
LONDON (Reuters) – Administrators of the Euribor bank-to-bank lending rate are proposing a revamp of the borrowing benchmark from next year in a fresh bid to try to increase the number of banks that contribute to its calculation.
Coming more than a decade after a series of rigging scandals shredded the reputation of interbank rates, Euribor’s larger cousin Libor has been switched off, largely replaced with overnight rates compiled by the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank or Bank of England.
Trillions of euros of financial products, from mortgages to car loans, remain pegged to the Euro Interbank Offered Rate as Euribor is officially known.
The move to revamp Euribor aims to reduce the burden on institutions that do provide input by using a standardised approach.
Jean-Louis Schirmann, CEO of Euribor’s Brussels-based administrator, the European Money Markets Institute (EMMI), said the main proposal was to do away with a requirement for banks to provide bespoke estimates in certain circumstances when actual borrowing or lending doesn’t take place.
That would hopefully encourage more banks to be part of the process. Around 50 contributed rates in 1999 but the mass exodus when lenders sought to protect themselves from the reputational fallout of the rigging scandals mean there are 19 currently.
“What we would love to see is more diversification,” Schirmann told Reuters, referring to the make up of the rate setting panel.
“How many (could rejoin)? I don’t have a specific target in mind …. If we could have banks joining from geographical areas that are currently not in the panel, that would already be a good sign”.
Having the broadest possible geographical spread of banks in Euribor’s panel is seen as the best way to have a full picture of euro-denominated lending costs.
Schirmann highlighted that countries with active bank-to-bank lending markets such as Finland, Ireland and Greece currently had no banks on Euribor’s panel. He would also like to see more German banks join alongside Deutsche Bank and DZ bank.
“It’s a good idea to attract more of them,” he said.
EMMI now calculates the rates using a hybrid mix of actual transactions and estimates, which has so far proved robust.
The proposed changes, which would come into force next year once consultations are complete, would see the calculation processes reworked to “better reflect changes in interest rates as well as changes in the perceived credit risks”.
Cutting the need for banks to provide bespoke so called “Level 3” estimates should also “significantly diminish” the time and costs involved for banks.
(Reporting by Marc Jones; Editing by Mark Potter)
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