European Central Bank

The European Central Bank (ECB) announced on Wednesday that it will charge banks total fees of €514.3 million for the 2020 fee period.

Overall supervisory costs in 2020 stood at €535.3 million, a slight decrease of 0.3 per cent when compared with 2019.

These costs seem to have been kept down by COVID, as initially the ECB had estimated costs of €603.7 million for its 2020 supervisory activities, up 12 per cent compared with costs in 2019. 

According to the bank, the COVID pandemic “led to a significant reprioritisation of activities, such as a reduction in regular bank visits and on-site inspections, as well as the postponement of the 2020 European Union-wide stress test led by the European Banking Authority”. 

However, the bank reports the decrease in its operating expenditure was partially offset by a headcount increase approved for 2020 and a significant demand for shared information technology services, since most staff worked independently.

As part of its commitment to transparency and accountability, the ECB also details granular expenses, which shows that the bank’s expenses for business travel decreased by more than 80 per cent in 2020.

Offsite supervision and monitoring functions costed the ECB the most in 2020, at €249.3 million, followed by policy advisory and regulatory activities, which costed €130.6 million.

Looking to the year ahead, the ECB said it expects a gradual return to more normal activity levels in 2021, which is reflected in its estimated expenditure reaching €594.5 million.

Last year’s expenses are due to be paid by the banks in second quarter of 2021.

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