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Supervision of financial institutions

We all need financial institutions such as banks and insurers for our money matters. At DNB, we supervise these institutions. Our supervisors check that they are handling your and our money properly and take action when this is not the case.

Supervision reduces risks but offers no certainty

As a customer, you cannot always check for yourself whether a financial institution is reliable. Financial supervisors do this for you – De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) and the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM). The AFM looks at financial institutions' conduct. We check that they have enough cash on hand and a buffer to help them navigate headwinds. And we monitor their efforts to combat money laundering. While supervision reduces the risk of something going wrong, it offers no certainty. If a Dutch bank fails, you will get your money back up to a maximum of €100,000, under the Dutch deposit guarantee.

1,200 financial institutions under our supervision

We supervise no fewer than 1,200 financial institutions, From banks to crypto service providers and from pension funds to insurers. To provide financial services, everyone needs our approval. Approval can take different forms, such as a licence or registration. This, in turn, determines the type of supervision we exercise. For licensed institutions, we check their financial health, whether their directors are suitable and reliable, and whether they are doing enough to combat money laundering. For registered institutions, we monitor their directors and their approach to money laundering, but we do not check their financial health. This applies, for example, to all crypto service providers. You can view the public register to check whether a financial institution is licensed or registered.

Supervision in practice

Supervision requires a lot of data. Institutions submit reports to us, which helps our supervisors understand how they are doing financially. Also, supervisors hold regular discussions with, for example, an institution's board and risk managers. And sometimes they conduct extensive inspections at the institution itself, for example to dig through financial accounts, to audit the IT systems or examine the corporate culture. They pay particular attention to the risks and focus more on large institutions than on small ones. After all, when a large institution gets into trouble, the consequences are bigger.

Intervention at a financial institution  

If our supervisors have concerns about an institution, they take action and intervene. They may insist on having a serious discussion to agree on clear plan to resolve problems as quickly as possible. Or they could tell the institution to keep an extra buffer to absorb losses. If they have bigger concerns, our supervisors may deploy more serious instruments, such as imposing a fine.

If a bank or insurer goes bankrupt

If a bank or insurer fails or threatens to fail, we try to limit the damage for account holders or policyholders. This process is called resolution. In resolution, the bank or insurer is relaunched or sold. If a bank goes bankrupt, you will get your money back up to €100,000, under the Dutch deposit guarantee. We administer this guarantee scheme.

The ECB and the large banks

The European Central Bank (ECB) supervises all large banks in the euro area. In the Netherlands, these include ING, ABN AMRO, Volksbank and Rabobank. National financial supervisors such as DNB supervise all smaller banks, in collaboration with the ECB. The ECB can always decide to directly supervise one of these smaller banks itself. Read more about European supervision of large banks.

Supervision in Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba

We are responsible for the supervision of financial institutions in Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. In so doing, we collaborate with the AFM and the Centrale Bank van Curaçao en Sint Maarten.

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