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Approval procedures

Credit institutions required a special approval by the European Central Bank or the Financial Market Authority for material changes to their structure (such as mergers, any changes in their legal form, the acquisition of a qualifying holding) of for certain simplifications (such as waivers or exemptions from regulatory standards. With regard to competence within the banking union, a detailed description can be found in the section on Banking Union.


This page explains about the types of authorisations required in accordance with the Austrian Banking Act (BWG – Bankwesengesetz) and in accordance with the Capital Requirements Regulation (CRR).

The Banking Act stipulates a total of eight circumstances for which special approval is required. They are specified in Article 21 para. 1 BWG:

  • No. 1: any merger or amalgamation of credit institutions or of CRR-credit institutions authorised in a Member State or a third country where at least one of the credit institutions or CRR-credit institutions involved is deemed to be a credit institution pursuant to Article 1 para. 1 BWG;


  • No. 2: any case in which the limits of 10% (qualifying holding), 20%, 33% and 50% of the voting rights or capital of a credit institution or CRR-credit institution based in a third country are reached, exceeded or not reached;


  • No. 3: any change in the legal form of a credit institution;


  • No. 5: the establishment of branches in a third country;



  • No. 7: any merger or amalgamation of credit institutions with non-banks, except for subsidiary undertakings pursuant to Article 59 para. 3 BWG;



  • No. 9. any expansion of the purpose of business by credit institutions authorised in Austria to include the activity of submitting bids as defined in Article 3(5) of Regulation (EC) No 1031/2010 on behalf of clients.

In addition to the special circumstances requiring approval under national law those set out in the Capital Requirements Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 575/2013 (“CRR”) also apply. Additional information is available about selected approvals in the CRR:








Note about National Discretions in the CRR

For approvals that are granted by the European Central Bank, with regard to national discretions Regulation (EU) 2016/445 on the exercise of options and discretions available in Union law is relevant. This regulation will to a large extent be applied from 01.10.2016 to the supervision of significant credit institutions. As a European regulation it enjoys precedence of application over national law. In the case that such provisions contradict those contained in the CRR Supplementary Regulation (CRR-BV – CRR-Begleitverordnung) issued by the FMA, the provisions contained in Regulation (EU) 2016/445 shall therefore take precedence for significant institutions domiciled in Austria. It specified the exercising of a range of regulatory discretions for significant credit institutions.


Further information

Related topics

Banking Union