George's Feed
Aug 29, 2013

Co-op’s gory details aid case for creditor bail-in

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

By George Hay

LONDON, Aug 29 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Co-operative Bank’s
half-year results were always going to be shocking. If they
hadn’t been, the mutually-owned UK lender would not have been
downgraded to junk by Moody’s in May, and told to raise 1.5
billion pounds by the UK’s Prudential Regulation Authority.
Still, the details are pretty gory.

Aug 22, 2013
via Breakingviews

Time for UK banks to go legit

Photo

By George Hay

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

British banks are beginning to look like meth heads. Every time the regulator busts them for selling products that their customers don’t need, banks talk about their commitment to change – and then reach for the next hit. After unwanted mortgage insurance and dangerous interest rate swaps, add pointless credit card protection.

Aug 21, 2013

Breakingviews-Memo to RBS: list, don’t sell those branches

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

By George Hay

LONDON, Aug 21 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Royal Bank of
Scotland (RBS.L: Quote, Profile, Research) should list the branches it must shed, not sell
them. The UK bank is likely to decide shortly between three bids
for the assets that the European Commission wants it to offload,
after a failed attempt last year to sell them to Santander
(SAN.MC: Quote, Profile, Research). The best choice would be one that allows RBS to share
in any upside.

Jul 31, 2013

Dividend cut would help Santander and BBVA

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

By George Hay

LONDON, July 31 (Reuters Breakingviews) – The Bank of Spain
is being cruel to be kind to Santander (SAN.MC: Quote, Profile, Research) and BBVA
(BBVA.MC: Quote, Profile, Research). The Spanish regulator, backed by the International
Monetary Fund, recently urged its two largest charges to limit
cash dividends to 25 percent of net income for 2013. Although
first-half results and economic data suggest Spain’s two biggest
banks may not need this kind of nannying, the regulator is in
the right.

Jul 30, 2013
via Breakingviews

Barclays’ rights issue is worth supporting – just

Photo

By George Hay

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

Barclays’ 5.8 billion pound rights issue is just about worth supporting. Just six months after a strategic revamp, the UK bank’s investors are facing a cash call to help address an unexpected 12.8 billion pound capital hole. They should stick around.

Jul 29, 2013

Breakingviews- Barclays learns that capital delays don’t work

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

By George Hay

LONDON, July 29 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Barclays (BARC.L: Quote, Profile, Research)
is the latest big bank to discover that a go-slow approach to
boosting capital just doesn’t work. The UK lender is finalising
a capital increase including a possible 5 billion pound share
issue, Reuters reports. That is in spite of stating in February
that it would bolster solvency over time through profit
generation and other measures. Regulatory caprice over capital
requirements is probably to blame for Barclays’ u-turn – but so
too is management’s lackadaisical approach to balance sheet
strength.

Jul 24, 2013
via Breakingviews

UK bank tsar is inconsistent, not zealous

Photo

By George Hay

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

The main problem with UK bank regulation is inconsistency, not zealotry. Business Secretary Vince Cable, long the scourge of UK lenders, is now claiming that the demands of “capital Taliban” at the Bank of England are stopping banks from lending. But the real issue is regulators who don’t practice what they preach.

Jul 17, 2013
via Breakingviews

Barclays’ $453 mln power-trade spat looks lose-lose

Photo

By George Hay

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

Barclays’ energy-trading spat is shaping up to be a real no-win situation for the UK bank. The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) decided on July 16 not to budge from its contention that Barclays and four of its traders should pay a combined $453 million in fines for manipulating energy prices. Barclays strongly denies the charges. But even if the bank wins its case in court, the victory will be Pyrrhic.

Jul 15, 2013

Co-op creditors’ plan B could hurt just as much

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

By George Hay

LONDON, July 15 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Co-op Bank’s
(CPBB_p.L: Quote, Profile, Research) bondholders can salvage more value in the lender’s
restructuring. But more value isn’t always a better deal.

Jul 15, 2013

Banks dodge a bullet with transatlantic swap deal

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

By Dominic Elliott and George Hay

LONDON, July 15 (Reuters Breakingviews) – A deal between
American and European regulators on derivatives has helped banks
dodge a bullet. Before a compromise hatched on July 11, the
Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) intended to force
swaps involving United States’ counterparties to be cleared in
America. That would have frozen cross-border flows and hammered
volumes by creating separate regulatory jurisdictions.

    • About George

      "George Hay writes about the banking and property sectors. He joined from Thomson Financial News, where he was a companies correspondent. Before that he worked at United Business Media, where he was news editor of Building Magazine. He has a first in English Literature from Edinburgh University, and was nominated in two categories at the 2009 Business Journalist of the Year Awards."
    • Follow George