KOBLENZ, Germany (Reuters) - New European rules aimed at preventing a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis should not "squeeze the life out of banks" but rather stop them from taking on too much risk, the European Central Bank's top bank supervisor said on Wednesday.
Bankers have complained that the new rules, which include higher capital requirements and tighter checks on lending, are hurting their business at a time when their profits are also suffering as a result of the ECB's low interest rates.
Daniele Nouy, who has headed the ECB's supervisory arm since it started overseeing the euro zone's top banks in 2014, appeared to addressed some of those complaints on Wednesday.
"It goes without saying that the rules must not be so tight as to squeeze the life out of banks," she said at an event in Koblenz, Germany.
"They should rather provide a strong framework that reins in excessive risk-taking, while allowing the market to function normally. And this is what has been achieved."
She added low central bank rates, while initially useful to stimulate the economy, would take their toll on bank profits "at some point".
Nouy also repeated her wish for mergers between banks in different euro zone countries.
Reporting by Andreas Framke; Writing by Francesco Canepa; Editing by Balazs Koranyi and Alison Williams