Common banking supervision under the auspices of the European Central Bank will begin several months later than previously thought, a senior ECB official said Monday.
"Current plans envisage that common supervision will commence in the second half of next year," said Yves Mersch, a member of the ECB's Executive Board, at a financial conference in the northern German city of Hamburg.
The first step towards creating a banking union in Europe, the single supervisory mechanism ( SSM), was previously expected to begin operating in March 2014.
The ECB is to manage the SSM in tandem with the London-based European Banking Authority, which covers all 27 EU states, and national supervisors.
Initially the biggest 150 to 200 banks with assets worth more than 30 billion euros ($39 billion) or equal to 20 percent of a state's economic output will come under the ECB's remit.
Earlier Monday, another ECB Executive Board member, Joerg Asmussen, called for work to be sped up so the SSM will have the authority to shut down failing banks, which is another element of the banking union.