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What is the current SRB MREL Policy?

What are Minimum Requirement for own funds and Eligible Liabilities (MREL)?

The Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) provides that institutions established in the European Union (EU) should meet a minimum requirement for own funds and eligible liabilities (‘MREL’) to ensure an effective and credible application of the bail-in tool. Failure to meet MREL may negatively impact institutions' loss absorption and recapitalisation capacity and, ultimately, the overall effectiveness of resolution. This requirement is part of the necessary steps needed to make institutions resolvable. The BRRD requires that MREL is tailored to bank-specific features, including its size, business model, funding model and risk profile and the needs identified to implement the resolution strategy. MREL targets are set by EU resolution authorities, after consultation with prudential supervisors, and should be complied with by banks at the end of the transitional period, if any. MREL pursues the same regulatory aim of ensuring sufficient loss absorbing and recapitalization capacity in resolution as the TLAC standard developed by the Financial Stability Board (FSB). TLAC was designed for global systemically important banks (G-SIBs) at the international level, and has been formulated differently in some aspects. 

Who sets MREL?

The minimum requirement for own funds and eligible liabilities (MREL) is set by resolution authorities to ensure that a bank maintains at all times sufficient eligible instruments to facilitate the implementation of the preferred resolution strategy.

Purpose of MREL

MREL serves to prevent a bank’s resolution from depending on the provision of public financial support, and so helps to ensure that shareholders and creditors contribute to loss absorption and recapitalisation.

MREL is a separate minimum requirement set by resolution authorities that applies to an institution alongside its prudential minimum capital requirements. The calibration of MREL is, however, linked to prudential requirements as some of its components refer to capital requirements (Pillar I, Pillar II, prudential buffer requirements), and capital instruments held by the banks to comply with their prudential requirements are also eligible as MREL.

What is meant by ‘MREL shortfall’?

A bank faces an MREL shortfall when it does not hold sufficient own funds and eligible liabilities to meet its MREL target determined by the resolution authority. A MREL shortfall does not necessarily imply that the bank has a capital shortfall nor that it will be considered as failing or likely to fail. Well-capitalised banks meeting their prudential requirements may be required by resolution authorities, among other actions, to hold an additional amount of MREL liabilities (in the form of own funds or eligible liabilities) in order to ensure that the implementation of the resolution strategy is credible and feasible. 2 In the context of MREL Decisions of the SRB, and according to the resolution framework, banks which do not immediately meet their MREL target have been granted a specific transitional period to comply with the requirement, allowing banks to, as an example, issue additional eligible instruments and thereby improve their resolvability.

Which banks are subject to a binding MREL target?

The SRB adopted a gradual approach to setting MREL over a multi-year timeframe. The SRB decided in 2016 to set non-binding, informative MREL targets only. Binding Decisions on MREL at consolidated level have been taken during the 2017 resolution planning cycle for the majority of the largest and most complex banks in the Banking Union (BU), including all global systemically important institutions (G-SIIs), and banks with resolution colleges under its remit. Most other SRB banks remain subject to informative targets, not subject to a formal Decision, thus paving the way for future binding decisions by incentivising banks to progress towards improved resolvability and eventually comply with increasing requirements.

What are resolution prior permissions?

Resolution prior permissions are authorisations that institutions need to obtain from resolution authorities before they can redeem certain types of liabilities that are eligible for bail-in. These liabilities are called Eligible Liabilities Instruments (ELIs) and include, for example, subordinated debt or senior non-preferred debt.

The purpose of prior permissions is to ensure that institutions maintain sufficient loss-absorbing capacity and do not undermine their resolvability by reducing their ELIs.

What are the legal sources for resolution prior permissions?

The legal framework for prior permissions is set out in Articles 77(2) and 78a of Regulation (EU) 575/2013 (Capital Requirements Regulation or CRR), which specify the conditions and procedures for granting such authorisations.

On 9 May 2023, the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2023/827 entered into force, amending Delegated Regulation (EU) No 241/2014 and providing further details on certain elements of resolution prior permissions, such as the information to be submitted by institutions, the assessment criteria to be applied by resolution authorities, and the time limits for issuing decisions.

The SRB also published a communication, which explains how the Commission Delegated Regulation has impacted SRB’s prior permissions. The SRB Communication on Application of RTS Provisions on Prior Permission for Reducing Eligible Liabilities as of 1 January 2022 published on 16 September 2021 is superseded by the Commission Delegated Regulation.

How does the SRB implement resolution prior permissions?

There are two types of prior permissions: Ad-hoc Prior Permissions (SPPs) and General Prior Permissions (GPPs).

SPPs are granted for individual ELIs or groups of ELIs which are  specifically identified.  GPPs are granted for a predetermined amount of ELIs that can be redeemed by an institution within a given period of time without further approval by the SRB. Both types of permissions are granted for a specified period of time, which shall not exceed one year, and GPP can also be renewed upon request.

On 8 August 2023 the SRB has published a Q&A document on SRB administrative practices on prior permission. The Q&A aims at (i) informing institutions about existing practices of the SRB in this area, taking into account the Commission Delegated Regulation and recent EBA Q&As; (ii) introducing a dedicated category/envelope in the predetermined amount for ELIs with a residual maturity of less than one year to achieve administrative simplification in GPPs.

What is the margin for redeeming ELIs?

The margin for redeeming ELIs is the amount that institutions applying for permissions under Article 78a(1)(b) CRR and GPPs shall demonstrate to meet above their Minimum Requirement for Own Funds and Eligible Liabilities (MREL) and the Combined Buffer Requirement, after the transaction has been performed.

The margin for redeeming ELIs should be set by the SRB in agreement with the competent authority. The SRB and the ECB have reached an “in principle” agreement on the margin that institutions have to comply with in order to be authorised to redeem ELIs. More information on this agreement can be found in the Q&A document as well as on our Margin for redemptions of eligible liabilities webpage


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2017 MREL Policy presentation - Industry Dialogue 21/11/2017

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