The importance of the European banking union must not be underestimated, Jürgen Fitschen said, speaking at the Süddeutsche Zeitung´s leadership conference in Berlin on Saturday afternoon. The ability to achieve sustainable economic success would reflect progress made on European integration, the Co-Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Bank noted.
It is important for banks to deal with the consequences of past mistakes and to ensure that taxpayers will not bear the brunt of possible future bailouts, Fitschen said, adding that tackling new tasks is equally vital. This should be reflected in the discussions on effective regulation for the financial industry. Banks must be allowed to perform their function of providing capital for the economy, he said.
Fitschen expressed scepticism regarding proposals calling for negative European Central Bank (ECB) interest rates, noting that pressure on banks to lend to economies where economic recovery was fragile would not be productive. Increased lending activity to these countries would be spurred by demand for credit from businesses that offer promising economic prospects, he added. Fitschen acknowledged that current monetary policy served to buy time for important structural changes.
Jörg Asmussen, Member of the ECB´s Executive Board, who participated in the discussion with Fitschen, emphasised that negative deposit rates are theoretically possible, but noted that this question must be handled “very, very carefully”.
During the three-day conference, which was attended by 350 leaders from the fields of business, politics and science, participants debated strategies for economic growth. Among the speakers were German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Prime Ministers of Greece and Italy, Antonis Samaras and Enrico Letta, as well as ECB President Mario Draghi and Hans-Werner Sinn, President of the Ifo Institute.
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