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Mar 20, 2015
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ECB torn between two roles in Greek bank support

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The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The European Central Bank is responsible for the stability of both the euro and the single currency zone’s biggest banks. The two goals are not perfectly aligned, as a spat over Greece is making clear.

Mar 6, 2015
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UK retreat from RBS is more important than value

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By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Re-privatising Royal Bank of Scotland used to mean creating a world-class universal bank and selling out at a profit. The first objective has already fallen by the wayside – RBS is well on the way to becoming a UK-focused retail bank. Happily the second, judging by comments by Chancellor George Osborne on March 5, could soon follow.

Mar 6, 2015
via Breakingviews

UK retreat from RBS is more important than value

Photo

By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Re-privatising Royal Bank of Scotland used to mean creating a world-class universal bank and selling out at a profit. The first objective has already fallen by the wayside – RBS is well on the way to becoming a UK-focused retail bank. Happily the second, judging by comments by Chancellor George Osborne on March 5, could soon follow.

Feb 27, 2015
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Lloyds investment case hinges on its next dividend

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By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The last time Lloyds Banking Group paid a dividend, Gordon Brown was UK prime minister, Lehman Brothers still existed, and “banker” was yet to become a term of abuse. The fact the UK bank is making its first shareholder payout since August 2008 is therefore an encouraging milestone. But in valuation terms, this year’s dividend is more important.

Feb 5, 2015
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ECB’s Greek bank warning stays within reason

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By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The European Central Bank is playing politics. Its governing council decided on Feb. 4 to remove a waiver allowing Greek banks to pledge domestic government-backed collateral in return for cash. Technically, the ECB remains within its mandate. In fact, it is pressuring a European Union government to tone down its rhetoric and come to an agreement with its euro zone partners. Yet even in this political role, the ECB’s decision looks reasonable.

Feb 5, 2015
via Breakingviews

ECB’s Greek bank warning stays within reason

Photo

By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The European Central Bank is playing politics. Its governing council decided on Feb. 4 to remove a waiver allowing Greek banks to pledge domestic government-backed collateral in return for cash. Technically, the ECB remains within its mandate. In fact, it is pressuring a European Union government to tone down its rhetoric and come to an agreement with its euro zone partners. Yet even in this political role, the ECB’s decision looks reasonable.

Feb 3, 2015
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Santander’s next task: sustainable profit growth

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By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Ana Botin has made a good start at Santander. In her first five months running the bank her late father Emilio built, she has taken a markedly different strategy: raising capital, cutting an over-generous dividend, and shaking up the board. Her own legacy will hinge on whether a focus on organic growth, again a departure from her father’s high-octane dealmaking, can deliver.

Feb 3, 2015
via Breakingviews

Santander’s next task: sustainable profit growth

Photo

By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Ana Botin has made a good start at Santander. In her first five months running the bank her late father Emilio built, she has taken a markedly different strategy: raising capital, cutting an over-generous dividend, and shaking up the board. Her own legacy will hinge on whether a focus on organic growth, again a departure from her father’s high-octane dealmaking, can deliver.

Jan 30, 2015
via Breakingviews

Greek deposits fly between a rock and a hard place

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By George Hay and Neil Unmack

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

The 25 members of the European Central Bank’s governing council must be experiencing unpleasant feelings of déjà vu. In 2012, they allowed bust banks in Cyprus to build up the equivalent of over half the tiny state’s GDP in so-called emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) from the island nation’s own central bank. That deferred Cyprus’ bail-in, but at a high cost. The eventual rescue and bail-in were more painful when they became unavoidable in 2013. It may be hard to avoid something similar in Greece.

Jan 30, 2015
via Breakingviews

Greek deposits fly between a rock and a hard place

Photo

By George Hay and Neil Unmack

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

The 25 members of the European Central Bank’s governing council must be experiencing unpleasant feelings of déjà vu. In 2012, they allowed bust banks in Cyprus to build up the equivalent of over half the tiny state’s GDP in so-called emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) from the island nation’s own central bank. That deferred Cyprus’ bail-in, but at a high cost. The eventual rescue and bail-in were more painful when they became unavoidable in 2013. It may be hard to avoid something similar in Greece.

    • About George

      "George Hay coordinates European financial coverage and writes about macroeconomics, the euro zone and UK/European financial policy. He covered European banks for Breakingviews during the financial crisis, and has also worked as a correspondent for AFX News and at United Business Media. He attended Edinburgh University and his work has been recognised at the UK’s Business Journalist of the Year Awards. Follow George on Twitter @gfhay"
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