European lawmakers have short-listed Italy's Andrea Enria and Ireland's Sharon Donnery to be the next head of the EU's banking supervisory body, two sources close to the matter said on Wednesday.
Enria is chairman of the European Banking Authority while Donnery is the Irish deputy central bank chief.
The European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee held a closed-door hearing in Strasbourg on Tuesday to assess three candidates who had put themselves forward to take charge of the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM).
They subsequently passed on the names of Enria and Donnery to the European Central Bank, which takes the decision, the sources said. French financial markets regulator Robert Ophele was the third candidate, sources told Reuters last month.
The 25-member governing council of the ECB is expected to hold a secret ballot on the nomination at a Nov. 7 meeting.
Enria was not backed by the Italian ruling League party's representative within the European Parliament, the sources said.
"The League was very critical about Enria's position against banking rules for easing credit criteria to small and medium-sized businesses," one of the sources said, asking not to be identified since the procedure is not public.
According to the second source, EU lawmakers underlined Enria's international experience in its letter to ECB President Mario Draghi. They said Donnery would offer a better gender balance among top EU jobs.
Donnery has been seen for weeks as the favourite as she is expected to enjoy German support after taking a no-nonsense stance toward banks for hoarding massive piles of non-performing loans, other sources said earlier.
But Enria is also seen as a strong candidate for being tough on bad loans, a major problem for banks in his native Italy, as well as for banks in Greece, Portugal and Cyprus, two other sources said this week.
The current head of the SSM, France's Daniele Nouy, is due to step down when her term expires at the end of the year.
An ECB spokesman declined to comment.
The European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee and the European Council must also approve the ECB's choice of new SSM chief. (Reuters)