European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said Saturday reforms to the way European Union banks are supervised would probably not be implemented for another "year or so".
Political leaders have been working towards agreement on a single European banking supervisory body by the start of next year, but Draghi said it would not be operational on January 1st.
"It's very important that we have these institutional steps done by January 1 so that we can prepare ourselves to run the supervision and make it operational.
"But this may well take another year or so. We think by January 2014, the new framework will be in place and operational."
Draghi was speaking to reporters in Tokyo on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund's annual meeting.
His comments come days after he said a planned single European bank supervisory authority -- which will be located within the ECB -- should be up and running as early as possible.
Speaking to a hearing of the European Parliament's committee for economic and monetary affairs in Brussels, he said "phasing-in time" would be around one year.
"Irrespective of the precise schedule for the performance of supervisory tasks, I believe that it is very important that council regulation (on supervision) enters into force as envisaged on January 1, 2013.
"This would allow us to start the preparatory work as swiftly as possible," he said.
In Tokyo on Saturday, he said the important thing was that a regulatory framework was in place, providing all actors with certainty.
"Whether this happens on the first of January, 2013, or January 1 of 2014, frankly doesn't make much of difference, provided that the commitment is firm. That's what matters really," he said.
"This way, the markets and countries and banks know that by a certain date, this commitment is being honoured. That's what matters the most.
"We want to make sure it works. So we have to do it well. We have to move in time. We also have to move well."