Italy’s zero-cost bailout is too good to be true

November 23, 2015

The Italian bank resolution fund will cough up 3.6 billion euros to restructure four failing lenders. Officially, public funds won’t be used, but the burden will hit a sector already struggling with low rates and weak demand. Rome could find itself on the hook too.

German co-op bank M&A shows Landesbanken the way

November 20, 2015

The merger of cooperative banks DZ and WGZ is a lesson for Germany’s state-owned lenders. The deal generates 100 mln euros of annual cost benefits. Ropey Landesbanken are bogged down by regional vanities but cannot afford to leave that money on the table by dodging mergers.

UK shuts stable door after HBOS horse has bolted

By Breakingviews Columnists
November 19, 2015

Regulators are to look at whether those responsible for the bust lender’s demise should face censure. Judging by another report into why HBOS failed, the answer may well be yes. But the meaningful penalties remaining – pension clawbacks or big fines – look legally tricky.

Portugal’s ropey bank rescue comes home to roost

November 16, 2015

The “good bank” part of bust lender BES needs another 1.4 bln euros, EU regulators say. If it ends up being sold cheaply, fellow banks that part-financed its rescue could suffer. Had Lisbon taken a tougher line with senior creditors last year, it would be in less of a mess.

Megabanks set example to Japan Inc. on share sales

November 16, 2015

Japan’s three top lenders plan to slash their huge holdings in client companies. That’s good: the shift should boost the banks’ returns, shield them from market swings, and give more power to regular investors. Even better if smaller banks and non-financial outfits follow suit.

Cerberus finds workaround for Northern Rock mess

November 13, 2015

The private equity firm is paying a premium for 13 bln stg of assets from the collapsed UK lender. It helps the state’s finances, but leaves Cerberus to fund a big portfolio itself. Selling a 3 bln stg chunk to TSB, and better securitisation markets, suggest a way to do so.

Apple and banks spoil for electronic-payment fight

November 12, 2015

JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and others may let customers send money over the iPhone maker’s network. All are playing catch-up to the likes of PayPal and Facebook. The Apple Pay plan may wrest back some control for banks, but also portends an intense battle for money flows.

Amundi’s so-so listing sums up Europe’s IPO market

November 12, 2015

Shares in the Credit Agricole-owned asset manager opened just above the issue price, at the lower end of its original range. Anything less would have been a failure for the 15 banks on the deal. The valuation reflects concerns about the business – and new stocks in general.

Fed feeds Goldman conspiracy-theory machine

November 10, 2015

Hiring former dealmaker Neel Kashkari to run Minneapolis means the investment bank’s alumni are in charge of three of the central bank’s 12 regional branches. It’s great fodder for those seeking evidence of a system in thrall to Wall Street and Goldman. The reality is less juicy.

Banks and big media wake up to aggregation risks

November 10, 2015

An array of websites and apps allow consumers to see multiple financial accounts in one place. BofA is the latest lender to resist. Similarly, Netflix aggregates TV shows and media companies are showing more hate than love. Both traditional industries are fighting the tide.