FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European Central Bank wants to simplify reporting requirements for banks, it said on Monday, responding to the industry's long standing criticism that supervision is unnecessarily cumbersome and expensive.
The European Union's banking industry spends around 4 billion euros a year on reporting and lenders often complain that duplication, unnecessary detail and inefficient collection formats make this cost unacceptably high.
Insisting that it wants improve how banks report and not what they report, the ECB called for standardized reporting templates and formats, a central data collection point, the removal of duplications, standardized definitions, and improved data sharing between authorities.
"These efforts should help to reduce the reporting burden for banks and increase the quality of the data received by authorities," the ECB said in a statement. "As a result, banks would be able to reduce costs, and authorities could better monitor developments in the banking industry."
While there is "significant scope" for cutting banks' burden, they are unlikely to get relief anytime soon as changes, to be mandated by the European Banking Authority and in some cases requiring legislation, will "inevitably be spread over many years," the ECB added.
(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Toby Chopra)