In late 2016, as the global financial crisis was intensifying, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) announced plans to tighten its oversight of the $2.3 trillion (£1.3tn) global lending market.
The FSA was to take on the task of making sure that banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions that provide financing to malls and other retail establishments did not simply provide cheap, high-interest loans to companies that then used them to buy and sell their wares.
But the FSA’s plans went well beyond the mere creation of an advisory panel to review financial institutions’ lending practices.
They also involved creating a new regulator, the European Banking Authority, to monitor and report to the FSA.
The new body would have powers to levy fines against banks and other firms that fail to meet their lending obligations.
This meant that in its first three years, the FSA would be able to impose up to a $25,000 fine on each bank that failed to meet its own guidelines.
The FSA was also tasked with taking over the reins of the European Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a body that would oversee the EU’s financial regulation.
In its early years, there were some problems with the FSA, which was led by a group of bureaucrats known as the European Commission, or EC.
Its work was often controversial.
Its decision in 2008 to impose tough new rules on financial institutions in the UK was met with strong criticism by the UK’s banking sector.
In 2009, the EC’s then-chief, Jean-Claude Juncker, accused the FSA of “systematically deceiving” the British public.
Juncker also complained that the regulator had “put pressure on consumers” to accept more expensive loans and then used its powers to impose “financial calamity” on those who had resisted.
Then in 2015, the commission issued a report, dubbed the “big four” report, which accused the regulator of using its “totality of powers” to “delegitimise the financial sector”.
This included a series of “predatory practices” and “widespread abuse of the financial system” by the financial industry.
It also accused the watchdog of failing to properly investigate the behaviour of companies in the financial services sector, such as “sloppy lending practices” at the Bank of Ireland and the failure to ensure the EU was providing adequate financial support to the UK, Ireland and Spain.
The commission called for the regulator to “immediately suspend its supervision of financial institutions”.
After years of criticism, the watchdog was finally sacked in November 2020.
At the time, the Commission also criticised the FSA for failing to ensure that banks and financial institutions had adequate capital buffers to protect against risks such as an economic downturn.
It said that the “overly complex” regulation was “out of step with the needs of the banking system and the financial markets”.
The European Banking Regulatory Authority (EBRA) was set up to be the regulator that would replace the FSA and would have much greater oversight powers.
The EBRA is now the third largest lender in the world, having received nearly €200bn (£180bn) in EU funds over the last decade.
“We need to build trust,” said the head of the EBRC, Martin Kettle, at the time of the EU bailout.
For its part, the ECB said that in the wake of the bailout, the agency had “improved the quality of supervision of the bank lending market”.
But it also said that while the agency was “in place to improve the quality and stability of the supervision of banks, its activities do not imply any changes in the banking sector’s fundamental rules”.
While the FSA was already the regulator for the UK and Ireland, the EBLA would have its own watchdog, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), to oversee the banking and financial sector.
With the EU banking crisis at an end, and a new era of European integration beginning in earnest, the EU Banking Council, the main body responsible for the regulation of the bloc’s financial sector, was set to hold its first meeting in October 2019.
However, on January 11, 2019, the Council postponed the meeting until February.
As the new financial year approached, there was another round of controversy.
On January 23, 2019 the EU Commission unveiled plans to create a new supervisory body for the EU financial sector called the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).
Estonian Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen called the move a “serious mistake” and said it would lead to a “black-hole of oversight”.
In response, the head and deputy head of Estonia’s parliament, Andrus Ansip, wrote an open letter to the EU chief, stating that the EU had “failed to do enough to protect the European economy”.
“The EU’s inaction over the past months has seriously affected