ECBC, EMF merging, seen giving lobbying a consumer edge

Jul 10th, 2014

The European Mortgage Federation and European Covered Bond Council are being merged, with ECBC chairman Carsten Tirsbæk Madsen saying that the move should help their lobbying efforts by highlighting the relationship between covered bonds and mortgage borrowers.

CarstenTirsbaekMadsen BRFkredit3 APPThe ECBC was created by the EMF in 2004 and the two have worked closely together in the same premises. The merger has been approved by the ECBC’s steering committee and the EMF’s executive committee, as well as by the EMF’s general assembly on 3 June.

The two “brands” of the EMF and ECBC will be retained, said Madsen, because they each have value among their respective stakeholders, but they will be run under an umbrella body, the Covered Bond & Mortgage Council (CBMC). The respective leaderships of the EMF and ECBC will remain, although the umbrella entity will have a board comprising three ECBC representatives and two EMF officials. Antonio José Béjar González, chief executive officer of Banco Bilboa Vizcaya Argentaria, is president of the EMF.

Madsen, who is also CEO of BRFkredit, said that the merger will help the organisations’ efforts in Brussels.

“We are bringing together the asset and liability sides because when we are lobbying, very often the best way to get in touch with other stakeholders, and politicians in particular, is also by taking up an issue from the consumer angle, because these are their constituents,” he told The Covered Bond Report. “Our experience from Denmark and other countries where this has been done is that we are in a unique position of always being able to get air time, because when it comes to voters and their finances this is something that matters for politicians.

“And when something is hurting covered bonds, it is hurting mortgages and the borrowers or those seeking finance. The bringing together of the whole value chain therefore makes sense.”

Although the joint organisation will bring together covered bonds with the lending side of the mortgage industry, it will not represent another key form of mortgage finance: securitisation.

“We will, however, have expertise in that type of financing within the organisation and be capable of participating in any debates on that topic,” said Madsen.

At the beginning of June, Luca Bertalot was appointed secretary general of the EMF and ECBC, replacing Annik Lambert.

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