White Paper No. 88

Institutional Protection Schemes: What are their differences, strengths, weaknesses, and track records?

This briefing paper describes and evaluates the law and economics of institution(al) protection schemes. Throughout our analysis, we use Europe’s largest such scheme, that of German savings banks, as paradigm.

We find strengths and weaknesses: Strong network-internal monitoring and early warning seems to be an important contributor to IPS network success. Similarly, the geographical quasi-cartel encourages banks to build a strong client base, including SME, in all regions. Third, the growth of the IPS member institutions may have benefitted from the strictly unlimited protection offered, in terms of euro amounts per account holder. The counterweighing weaknesses encompass the conditionality of the protection pledge and the underinvestment risk it entails, sometimes referred to as blackmailing the government, as well as the limited diversification potential of the deposit insurance within the network, and the near-incompatibility of the IPS model with the provisions of the BRRD, particularly relating to bail-in and resolution.

Consequently, we suggest, as policy guidance, to treat large IPS networks similar to large banking groups, and put them as such under the direct supervision of the ECB within the SSM. Moreover, we suggest strengthening the seriousness of a deposit insurance that offers unlimited protection. Finally, to improve financial stability, we suggest embedding the IPS model into a multi-tier deposit re-insurance scheme, with a national and a European layer.

This document was provided by the Economic Governance Support Unit at the request of the ECON Committee.