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Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision


Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision
(Basle Core Principles)

1. Weaknesses in the banking system of a country, whether developing or developed, can threaten financial stability both within that country and internationally. The need to improve the strength of financial systems has attracted growing international concern. The Communiqué issued at the close of the Lyon G-7 Summit in June 1996 called for action in this domain. Several official bodies, including the Basle Committee on Banking Supervision, the Bank for International Settlements, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, have recently been examining ways to strengthen financial stability throughout the world.

2. The Basle Committee on Banking Supervision1 has been working in this field for many years, both directly and through its many contacts with banking supervisors in every part of the world. In the last year and a half, it has been examining how best to expand its efforts aimed at strengthening prudential supervision in all countries by building on its relationships with countries outside the G-10 as well as on its earlier work to enhance prudential supervision in its member countries. In particular, the Committee has prepared two documents for release:

  • a comprehensive set of Core Principles for effective banking supervision (The Basle Core Principles) (attached); and,

  • a Compendium (to be updated periodically) of the existing Basle Committee recommendations, guidelines and standards most of which are cross-referenced in the Core Principles document.

Both documents have been endorsed by the G-10 central bank Governors. They were submitted to the G-7 and G-10 Finance Ministers in preparation for the June 1997 Denver Summit in the hope that they would provide a useful mechanism for strengthening financial stability in all countries.

3. In developing the Principles, the Basle Committee has worked closely with non-G-10 supervisory authorities. The document has been prepared in a group containing representatives from the Basle Committee and from Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Mexico, Russia and Thailand. Nine other countries (Argentina, Brazil, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Poland and Singapore) were also closely associated with the work. The drafting of the Principles benefited moreover from broad consultation with a larger group of individual supervisors, both directly and through the regional supervisory groups.

4. The Basle Core Principles comprise twenty-five basic Principles that need to be in place for a supervisory system to be effective. The Principles relate to:

  • Preconditions for effective banking supervision - Principle 1

  • Licensing and structure - Principles 2 to 5

  • Prudential regulations and requirements - Principles 6 to 15

  • Methods of ongoing banking supervision - Principles 16 to 20

  • Information requirements - Principle 21

  • Formal powers of supervisors - Principle 22, and

  • Cross-border banking - Principles 23 to 25.

In addition to the Principles themselves, the document contains explanations of the various methods supervisors can use to implement them.

5. National agencies should apply the Principles in the supervision of all banking organisations within their jurisdictions.2 The Principles are minimum requirements and in many cases may need to be supplemented by other measures designed to address particular conditions and risks in the financial systems of individual countries.

6. The Basle Core Principles are intended to serve as a basic reference for supervisory and other public authorities in all countries and internationally. It will be for national supervisory authorities, many of which are actively seeking to strengthen their current supervisory regime, to use the attached document to review their existing supervisory arrangements and to initiate a programme designed to address any deficiencies as quickly as is practical within their legal authority. The Principles have been designed to be verifiable by supervisors, regional supervisory groups, and the market at large. The Basle Committee will play a role, together with other interested organisations, in monitoring the progress made by individual countries in implementing the Principles. It is suggested that the IMF, the World Bank and other interested organisations use the Principles in assisting individual countries to strengthen their supervisory arrangements in connection with work aimed at promoting overall macroeconomic and financial stability. Implementation of the Principles will be reviewed at the International Conference of Banking Supervisors in October 1998 and biennially thereafter.

7. Supervisory authorities throughout the world are encouraged to endorse the Basle Core Principles. The members of the Basle Committee and the sixteen other supervisory agencies that have participated in their drafting all agree with the content of the document.

8. The chairpersons of the regional supervisory groups 3are supportive of the Basle Committee's efforts and are ready to promote the endorsement of the Core Principles among their membership. Discussions are in progress to define the role the regional groups can play in securing the endorsement of the Principles and in monitoring implementation by their members.

9. The Basle Committee believes that achieving consistency with the Core Principles by every country will be a significant step in the process of improving financial stability domestically and internationally. The speed with which this objective will be achieved will vary. In many countries, substantive changes in the legislative framework and in the powers of supervisors will be necessary because many supervisory authorities do not at present have the statutory authority to implement all of the Principles. In such cases, the Basle Committee believes it is essential that national legislators give urgent consideration to the changes necessary to ensure that the Principles can be applied in all material respects.

10. The Basle Committee will continue to pursue its standard-setting activities in key risk areas and in key elements of banking supervision as it has done in documents such as those reproduced in the Compendium. The Basle Core Principles will serve as a reference point for future work to be done by the Committee and, where appropriate, in cooperation with non-G-10 supervisors and their regional groups. The Committee stands ready to encourage work at the national level to implement the Principles in conjunction with other supervisory bodies and interested parties. Finally, the Committee is committed to strengthening its interaction with supervisors from non-G-10 countries and intensifying its considerable investment in technical assistance and training.


1. The Basle Committee on Banking Supervision is a Committee of banking supervisory authorities which was established by the central bank Governors of the Group of Ten countries in 1975. It consists of senior representatives of banking supervisory authorities and central banks from Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States. It usually meets at the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, where its permanent Secretariat is located.

2. In countries where non-bank financial institutions provide financial services similar to those of banks, many of the Principles set out in this document are also capable of application to such non-bank financial institutions.

3. Arab Committee on Banking Supervision, Caribbean Banking Supervisors Group, Association of Banking Supervisory Authorities of Latin America and the Caribbean, Eastern and Southern Africa Banking Supervisors Group, EMEAP Study Group on Banking Supervision, Group of Banking Supervisors from Central and Eastern European Countries, Gulf Cooperation Council Banking Supervisors' Committee, Offshore Group of Banking Supervisors, Regional Supervisory Group of Central Asia and Transcaucasia, SEANZA Forum of Banking Supervisors, Committee of Banking Supervisors in West and Central Africa.

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