From Subsidiary to Branch Organization of International Banks: New Challenges and Opportunities for Regulators

Lawrence Goldberg, Richard J. Sweeney, Clas Wihlborg

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Nordea is the first major international bank planning to operate important host country activities in branches as the Second European banking directive envisions rather than as subsidiaries. Nordea is the result of mergers of roughly equal-size universal banks in four Nordic countries with the intention to reap economies of scale and scope by providing services in an integrated organization. Nordea has so far operated under a legal structure with subsidiaries in the host countries. When the new branch organization is implemented, EU directives specify that the home country is responsible for supervision, regulation as well as deposit insurance. Supervisors in all involved countries are challenged by this prospect and they are negotiating to obtain an acceptable division of responsibilities. We argue that the Nordea case offers an opportunity to implement the EU's vision and to develop institutional foundations for substantial market discipline in banking. In particular, distress resolution and insolvency procedures for banks must be made rule based and credible for host country authorities to accept home country control.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKøbenhavn
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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