On December 13th, the Economic and Financial Affairs Council of the European Union agreed on a plan establishing a single supervisory mechanism ("SSM") for Eurozone banks. The agreement reached by E.U. finance ministers confers supervisory authority over approximately 200 banks on the European Central Bank. The SSM will be composed of the ECB and national competent authorities, with the ECB responsible for the overall functioning of the SSM. The ECB will also have direct oversight of Eurozone banks, although in a differentiated way and in close cooperation with national supervisory authorities. Non-Eurozone member states wishing to participate in the SSM will be able to do so by entering into close cooperation arrangements. National supervisors would remain responsible for issues including consumer protection, money laundering, and payment services. ECB supervision will begin March 1, 2014. Council Press Release. See also Financial Times (providing background information and negotiation details).