Dutch parliament rebukes central bank head over DSB failure
NETHERLANDS - Nout Wellink, president of the Dutch central bank (DNB), has drawn harsh criticism from parliament after he yielded to pressure to apologise for his agency's role in supervising the failed DSB Bank.
Wellink recently admitted publicly that "more and better supervision may have been in order" with regard to DSB Bank, but many MPs said the apology was too little, too late.
Frans Weekers, Liberal Democrat MP, said parliament wanted a supervisor who did not "merely show his teeth", but was actually "willing to use them".
Outgoing finance minister Jan Kees de Jager accepted Wellink's apology, but only on the condition he take concrete steps toward "change and improvement".
Meanwhile, the Green Left and the Socialist parties said Wellink should step down, while the right-of-centre PVV called for his outright dismissal.
But Jolande Sap of the Green Left party said it was "nearly impossible" to actually fire Wellink, adding she hoped he would have "drawn his own conclusions" and "made way for fresh, new and strong leadership".
Sap added that Wellink was the "embodiment of the legal and formal DNB culture that is drawing criticism".
She said DNB should follow the example of the other financial supervisor, the Financial Markets Authority (AFM), an agency with the "courage to not merely follow the rules", but "act forcefully".
She praised AFM chairman Hans Hoogervorst for not simply acting on formal and legal rules, but "following his intuition".
Earlier this year, the AFM judged that former finance minister Gerrit Zalm, currently chairman of the board at ABN Amro, was unfit for his ministerial role due to his tenure at DSB.
Wellink has been given a month to come up with a far-reaching plan to change the "culture" at DNB.