White collar crime has many characteristics that make it superior to blue collar crime. Amongst other things, it avoids violence, which can put its perpetrator at risk. For another, proper white collar criminals are likely to be treated better in jails; they may even end up with a bed-and-breakfast room to themselves. And amongst the variety of white collar crimes available to a properly qualified aspirant, setting up a bank is the most attractive; nothing offers a quicker way of getting rich than promising depositors safety and security and running away with their money. And if a criminally minded banker survives long enough, he may become a victim of systemic risk: he may have the company of other respectable bankers as he rushes into bankruptcy, and may then be able to plead that he has suffered from systemic risk. And he may well be right, for waves of bank failure have been known since the beginning of the lending business. That is why, three centuries ago, the first central bank emerged to rescue banks from collective failure. From its foundation in 1694, the Bank of England was a private body until the Labour government nationalized it in 1946; but other governments did not leave the task of preventing bank runs to businessmen, and set up central banks under their own aegis.
The latest central bank to be born is the European Central Bank, which is barely 15 years old. As in many things, the Europeans have been in two minds about the ECB. Central banks are littered all over Europe, and their governments could not be easily persuaded to send their own central banks into oblivion and transfer their tasks to Brussels. Finally they bit the bullet after the German government offered them the site of the closed-down wholesale market of Frankfurt am Main to build a shiny new glass tower. It is not yet ready; meanwhile, the Europeans could not agree on a single central bank, and set up a European Financial Stability Facility as well.
Even two institutions were too few; so they have also set up a European Stability Mechanism. That name was not long and ponderous enough, so they also set up a European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism. But to make sure that someone looking for the ECB did not walk into the EMS or EFSM by mistake, they set up the latter in Luxemburg. They can still confuse EMS and EFSM; but maybe that was the intention. Setting them up was not a bad idea; it lit a fuse under the ECB, which has been charging around and going to work on the task of subduing European banks. But even before it can begin to supervise European banks, it needs to ensure the smooth transfer of money between them. Europeans continue to wait for its payments initialization system, appropriately shortened to PAIN.