Growing audit gap in banking supervision

President of the German and Dutch supreme audit institutions: "Worrying development".

The supreme audit institutions of five European countries (Germany, Cyprus, Finland, Austria and the Netherlands) conclude in a joint report that there is a growing audit gap in the public control of banking supervision in the eurozone. Their conclusion is endorsed by all supreme audit institutions of the EU member states and the European Court of Auditors. The presidents of Germany’s Bundesrechnungshof and of the Netherlands’ Algemene Rekenkamer, Kay Scheller and Arno Visser, referred to this development in an opinion piece published in today’s Handelsblatt and Financieele Dagblad as ‘risky’. 

The gap came into being in 2014, when the European Central Bank (ECB) was made responsible for the supervision of significant banks in the eurozone in order to prevent the reoccurrence of a major banking crisis as in 2008. The European Court of Auditors, however, was not given the accompanying mandate to audit the ECB’s supervision of significant banks.
The five audit institutions found that they too were losing ground when auditing the national supervisors’ supervision of small and medium-sized banks in their home countries. Their access to documents was increasingly being denied because the supervisors are  working more and more in accordance with the European Central Bank’s methods and techniques. The ECB claims the information obtained by means of these methods and techniques is confidential and therefore cannot be disclosed to supreme audit institutions in the member states. The five supreme audit institutions warn in the report that ‘this new gap in the audit of supervision will continue to grow’.


The presidents of the two audit institutions, Scheller and Visser, said: ‘We think this is a worrying development. National audit institutions are also being denied access to important documents. This is unacceptable. It prevents them from exercising their statutory audit rights.’