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Central banks must accelerate, globalise, innovate and regulate in the face of rapid acceleration of the digitalisation of the financial sector driven in large part by Covid-19, Banque de France governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau said in a speech Thursday.

The arrival of new players, crypto assets and decentralised market infrastructures means central banks should speed up their own cross-border payment plans and investment in such transformative innovations as central bank digital currencies, he said. Regulation must, however, keep pace with developments in order to maintain public trust.

Delays in implementing Basel III should be considered minor only if the temporary exemptions proposed by the European Commission, particularly those for housing loans, remain temporary, Villeroy said.