The ECB is currently working on a European credit data registry called AnaCredit (Analytical Credit Dataset). From the end of 2017 onwards, banks are supposed to report to the central bank data on all loans in excess of EUR 25 000. The ECB claims that the AnaCredit project is a purely statistical undertaking, and that therefore neither a public consultation nor justification for the need to have over 120 data fields per credit is necessary. As AnaCredit also has a monitoring function, I filed a complaint at the European Ombudsman. More than 900 board members of German banks have supported my complaint. For the time being, the Ombudsman has formally rejected the complaint because the legal basis of AnaCredit has not been adopted yet. However, the Ombudsman called on the ECB to hold a consultation. Now the ECB has given in, put the draft regulation online and started an informal consultation. The ECB asks for comments until the 29th of January 2016. With this the scheduled date for adoption by end of 2015 can no longer be met. Strangely, an official invitation for a consultation, which the ECB has refused up until recently, is missing.
On the ECB project AnaCredit, MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group commented:
“It’s most welcome that finally the ECB softens their stance. ECB regulations should honour EU standards of good legislation as for usual laws as well. This includes a public consultation. Therefore, I call on the responsible member in the Executive Board, Sabine Lautenschläger: Please, invite the wider public to contribute to your consulation and publicise all submissions to fullfil EU transparency standards!
Already the first step of the ECB has been a success for data protection and for smaller banks such as savings banks and cooperative banks on which otherwise the ECB would have imposed unnecessarily high costs. In the original proposal, costs and benefits were clearly unproportioned. The ECB has now the obligation to publicly display and to weight costs and benefits for all reporting requirements of AnaCredit.
The initiative process of the European Ombudsman is clearly a step to more citizens’ participation and democracy at the ECB. The European Central Bank may set rules independently that affect citizens. This may be done without representatives in the Parliament and the Council of Member States having a democratic say. This independences comes with a special obligation to respect highest standards of cost – benefit analysis, public participation and transparency. The ECB should bind itself to these obligations through a code of conduct elaborated in cooperation with the European Parliament.”
The draft of the AnaCredit regulation, as well as the public consultation, can be found here:
The final text for my letter of complaint to the European Ombudsman can be found here:
The list of supporters, so far 900 executive and non-executive board directors, can be found here:
The ECB “question and answers” regarding AnaCredit, including the rejection of a public consultation, can be found here: