ECB Finalizes Guides on Bank and Fintech Bank Licensing


On March 23, 2018, the European Central Bank (“ECB“) published the final versions of its:

  • Guide to assessments of license applications, available here. This sets out the general process and the requirements for the assessment of credit institution licensing applications. It applies to all license applications to become a credit institution within the meaning of the Capital Requirements Regulation (Regulation 575/2013) (“CRR“), including initial authorizations for credit institutions, applications from Fintech companies, authorizations in the context of mergers or acquisitions, bridge bank applications and license extensions.
  • Guide to assessments of Fintech credit institution license applications, available here. This is directed at entities with a Fintech business model that are considering applying for a banking license.

The guides are not legally binding. Instead, their aim is to support applicants and all entities involved in the process of authorization to ensure a smooth and effective procedure and assessment.

Responses were received from, among others, UK Finance, the European Savings and Retail Banking Group (“ESRBG“) and the Association of Financial Markets in Europe (“AFME“). Most respondents supported the goal of achieving maximum transparency in the license application process and raising greater awareness of the procedure followed and criteria applied by the ECB in its assessment of license applications. With respect to the guide relating to Fintech credit institutions, there was also strong support for the ECB’s aim of upholding the same supervisory standards for all credit institutions and ensuring a technology-neutral approach to assessing license applications. Both guides have been amended in response to the comments received.