Nella conferenza stampa di ieri Mario Draghi ha dovuto rispondere ad alcune domande dei giornalisti sulla vicenda del Monte dei Paschi.
La conferenza stampa con le domande è disponibile a questo indirizzo della BCE. Di seguito riporto le parti che riguardano espressamente MPS.
Tra le domande poste ce n'è una anche riguardo la possibilità, per la Banca d'Italia, di rimuovere la dirigenza di una banca in caso di gravi problemi, ipotesi con la quale Draghi si mostra d'accordo. Questo avviene perchè la vera o presunta impossibilità di andare oltre la mera supervisione gli serve per replicare alla questione fondamentale, cioè l'esercizio di vigilanza della Banca d'Italia, di cui lui era governatore, su MPS. Nella risposta a una domanda in tal senso Draghi rimanda al comunicato di bankitalia (disponibile qui) in cui si ricostruirebbe tutta la vicenda, oltre a lamentare l'impossibilità di intervenire più efficacemente. Dice Draghi:
The second question is on Monte dei Paschi. Some people have said that you swept the problems at Monte dei Paschi under the carpet because a banking scandal, or in fact a melt-down, in 2011 would have spoilt your chances of becoming ECB President. What would you say to that?
Draghi: [...]On the other point, you have now had, for about a week and a half, a detailed account of the whole story on the Banca d’Italia website, where you can see that the Banca d’Italia has done everything it should have done, both appropriately and in time. If you have any doubts about that, you also have the IMF team who was in Italy for a financial sector assessment. So, within that context, the IMF has publicly stated that their preliminary view is “that the Bank of Italy took timely and appropriate action, within the limits of the legal framework, to address problems at MPS. Oversight was close and supervisory action escalated appropriately as MPS’s problems became acute. This is consistent with the overall positive assessment of the Bank of Italy’s compliance with the Basel Committee’s principals for effective banking supervision. Looking ahead, it will be important for MPS to follow through on its restructuring plans in order to restore its health and profitability.” Do not forget that it was me who signed both inspections. It was the Banca d’Italia that gave most of the papers and documentation to the judiciary. The point is that in the case of fraud, supervisors do not normally have policing or judicial powers; they supervise. Finally, I do not want to take sides on the Italian elections, but you should certainly discount much of what you hear and read on blogs, etc. as part of the regular noise that elections produce.
Domanda: La seconda domanda è sul Monte dei Paschi. Si è detto che che i problemi del Monte dei Paschi sono stati nascosti sotto il tappeto perché uno scandalo bancario, o di fatto un tracollo, nel 2011 avrebbe rovinato le sue possibilità di diventare presidente della Bce. Cosa può dire al riguardare?
Draghi: [...] Sull'altro punto, c'è stato un resoconto dettagliato di tutta la storia sul sito della Banca d'Italia, dove si può vedere che la Banca d'Italia ha fatto tutto ciò che avrebbe dovuto fare, in modo appropriato e nei tempi giusti. Per chi ha dubbi al riguardo, si consideri che c'è anche il team del FMI, presente in Italia per una valutazione del settore finanziario. Quindi, in tale contesto, l'FMI ha dichiarato pubblicamente che il loro parere preliminare è "che la Banca d'Italia è intervenuta tempestivamente e in maniera adeguata, entro i limiti del quadro giuridico, per risolvere i problemi in MPS. La vigilanza era vicino e l'azione di controllo si è opportunamente intensificata quando i problemi MPS sono diventati acuti. Ciò è coerente con la valutazione complessivamente positiva della Banca d'Italia sulla conformità dei principi del Comitato di Basilea per la vigilanza bancaria efficace. Guardando al futuro, sarà importante per MPS seguire i piani di ristrutturazione al fine di ripristinare lo stato di salute e la redditività." Non si dimentichi che sono stato io a firmare entrambi i controlli e che è stata la Banca d'Italia che ha dato la maggior parte delle carte e della documentazione alla magistratura. Il punto è che in caso di frode, le autorità di vigilanza di norma non hanno poteri di polizia o giudiziari, la loro funzione è solo la supervisione. Infine, non voglio prendere posizione sulle elezioni italiane, ma si dovrebbe certamente far la tara a molto di quello che si sente e legge sui blog ecc. come parte del normale rumore di fondo che le elezioni producono.
Question: I want to go back to the Monte dei Paschi issue. Is this a warning sign that maybe the central bank is not the best supervisor for all of the euro area banks, I can only imagine in 2014 or 2015 every time something like this happens, you are going to be faced with a lot of questions and it could damage the credibility of the ECB when it comes to the conduct of monetary policy.
Draghi:[...] As to your first question: as I have said since the very beginning – and let me reiterate what I said at the first press conference, when it was not even certain that the ECB would actually be asked to take up banking supervision – “the framework of supervision has to be effective and ensure coherent oversight. Supervisory decision-making and monetary policy have to be clearly separated.” This is very important, and we have said this since the very beginning. I said many other things, but I will spare you that. So, I agree with you that separation is essential, but frankly I don’t agree with you about MPS and the future SSM being linked in any possible way other than me being former governor of Banca d’Italia and now being president of the ECB. But having shown you that Banca d’Italia acted properly and in a timely manner, there is no connection. It is very important, this point that you have raised, and many of your colleagues have raised in the articles in the various newspapers that have covered this topic in the last few days; it is very important that the governance of this new institution be really strongly separated so as to be seen as separated. So I am not sure whether the model would be like in the United States, where you have the Fed, the New York Fed and the Washington Fed, or whether there would be other models, but I am absolutely convinced of that. I am in full agreement with most of the journalists here who have written about this topic.
Question: I was wondering if there is already a lesson to be learnt from the Monte dei Paschi scandal, for example that the power to remove the heads of the banks should be given to the Bank of Italy.
Draghi: Certainly, the creation of one supervisor will involve profound legislative changes at national level, one of which concerns the powers that the supervisors have to have to be effective. And one of these powers is the power to first of all, judge a top manager of a bank to be proper and fit for the task. The second is to remove the manager if you have a sense that, for various reasons, he is no longer proper and fit. I think that is an essential component of the powers that supervisors must have. Right now, I don’t think all supervisors have these powers, but certainly some of them do. And I think, if anything, one of the things that this story shows is that having more powers would have helped; although, when you have to deal with fraud, you never know.
Question: Regarding Monte dei Paschi, I was just wondering if there is another possible lesson that could be learnt by European policy-makers and I am referring in this case to resolution. There is a resolution plan which has been discussed in Brussels. Do you think that more effective resolution should be taken into consideration in the light of banking situations like Monte dei Paschi?
Draghi: I do not want to comment on specific banks, but Monte dei Paschi has not been resolved at all. The answer is that to have one single resolution mechanism is very important. Let me immediately make it clear that this is not a bail-out mechanism, it is a resolution mechanism. Banks would and could be resolved in a uniform way in the euro area – or potentially and preferably in the European Union. It means that the Member States of the European Union would have the same resolution laws and legislation. It means that the same category of creditors would be bailed in everywhere in the European Union or in the euro area. It means that a mechanism is in place when a bank fails – even if it is large. And you would have a mechanism that can take action to resolve a bank, achieving two purposes: first, without using taxpayers money, i.e. without bailing out the shareholders or creditors of various kinds and, second, without experiencing what we had with Lehman Brothers, namely the break-up of some essential elements of our payment system. That is why it is so important. And nowadays, for many banks in the euro area, cross-border activity is so extensive that we need to move from a purely national to a supra-national resolution mechanism.