Chinese banks get closer to losing training wheels

June 25, 2015

Removing an official cap on the ratio of loans to deposits should remove distortions and could boost credit. More importantly, it takes China a step nearer to freeing its domestic financial system. Then it will be up to regulators, not rules, to stop banks careering off the road.

Deutsche’s attitude problem compounds Libor hit

April 23, 2015

The German bank is paying a record $2.5 bln to settle rate-rigging charges. To make things worse Deutsche Bank misled the UK regulator and others. That’s not smart in a highly regulated industry. With a currency market fine also pending, the reputational damage could grow.

Good news: China’s bad debts are on the rise

March 25, 2015

Agricultural Bank’s 28 percent increase in duff loans over six months looks modest next to what’s happening at some lenders. Across the board, write-offs and overdue loans are ballooning. Still, China’s economic slowdown may be giving cover for some welcome honesty.

Activists take on passivists in HK share spat

February 12, 2015

Hedge fund Elliott has challenged Bank of East Asia’s plan to issue a slab of stock to a friendly shareholder. Investors can theoretically stop these kinds of deal, but often don’t. The activists’ chance of success is slight, but they raise some good questions.

RBS puts lipstick on Citizens for $14 bln IPO

September 8, 2014

The Scottish bank reckons cost cuts, rising interest rates, capital returns and more business will boost its poorly performing U.S. unit. Granted, all this might create decent enough returns to justify the price. But RBS is painting too pretty a picture of Citizens’ independence.

Bankia probe will help Spanish banking cleanup

July 6, 2012

The High Court has opened a case against 33 former board members of Bankia suspected of falsifying accounts and misleading investors. An investigation - which had been resisted by the current government - was long overdue. It may lead to more probes elsewhere.

BoE governor’s arm-twisting raises tricky issues

By Hugo Dixon
July 11, 2012

Barclays’ chairman says Mervyn King made it plain to him that Bob Diamond no longer enjoyed the support of regulators. While the bank should have got rid of its CEO, King had no official authority to tell it to do so. So what exactly happened?

Spain’s bank rescue is part bail-in, part bail-out

November 29, 2012

Madrid has lopped 10 bln euros off its bank rescue tab by cutting the value of its worst lenders’ hybrid debt. Ireland’s 2011 haircuts were steeper. Politics means Spain had to balance burden-sharing with ways to soften the blow for the retail punters who must share the pain

Banking union will revive pan-EU bank M&A

December 7, 2012

The euro crisis has balkanised the continent’s banks, with national authorities protecting their own turf and forcing domestic mergers. A single regulator and central bailout fund will lift these barriers. And it might also make EU banks more attractive to non-euro competitors.

Other banks may take most of the UBS Libor pain

December 14, 2012

The Swiss lender is set to pay $1 bln for fiddling interbank rates. That’s more than twice as much as Barclays, which lost a CEO over the case. After many reputational blows, UBS has less to lose. But fellow Libor miscreants will be looking at an even more hostile world.