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Sep 18, 2013

Breakingview- Santander gets “board diversity” all wrong

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

By George Hay

MADRID, Sept 18 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Companies can’t
get enough of “board diversity”. To show they want to reach that
lofty goal, they try to form an ideal roster of non-executives
comprised of big hitters with a broad range of “talents”. In
appointing ex-Bankia Chairman Rodrigo Rato, Santander (SAN.MC: Quote, Profile, Research)
has gone one step further: it has recruited an executive who
hasn’t shown any talent in the field of banking.

Sep 16, 2013
via Breakingviews

Lloyds’ shares look a better bet than Barclays’

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By George Hay

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

Investors looking for a cheap way into the UK banking sector are spoilt for choice. The government is preparing to sell down its 39 percent stake in Lloyds Banking Group, probably through a discounted share placing. Rival Barclays is about to launch a 5.8 billion pound rights issue. Barclays’ shares are cheaper, but Lloyds is the safer investment. On balance, Lloyds looks better value.

Sep 12, 2013
via Breakingviews

2008 retold: EU bank bail-in saves taxpayer bacon

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By George Hay and Neil Unmack
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Lehman as it might have been … The following  is part of a special feature package marking the fifth anniversary of the collapse of the Wall Street securities firm. Breakingviews writers imagine what might have happened if post-crisis reformers had acted pre-crisis. Herewith a column  from that alternative archive.

Sep 9, 2013

ECB needs to sort out euro banks’ bad debt mess

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

By George Hay

LONDON, Sept 9 (Reuters Breakingviews) – How big is the
capital problem of euro area banks? The European Banking
Authority – the pan-European banking regulator – will in 2014
try to gauge the balance-sheet strength of banks in the monetary
union for the fourth time in as many years. Unlike the past
three attempts, this one may finally address one of the biggest
problems – the impenetrable fog surrounding European banks’ bad
debt data.

Sep 6, 2013

Bank upstarts’ rapid growth needs careful policing

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

By Neil Unmack and George Hay

LONDON, Sept 6 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Peer-to-peer
lending is a rare thing in finance: an innovation that is
actually innovative. Internet lenders are faster, more
transparent and less systemically risky than traditional ones.
But when the Financial Conduct Authority starts to regulate the
sector next April, it needs to keep an eye on a disquieting new
trend: some so-called P2P lenders are beginning to act more like
banks.

Sep 2, 2013
via Breakingviews

Bale-in at Real Madrid won’t lead to bailout

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By George Hay

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

Real Madrid’s world-record signing of Gareth Bale will have UEFA mopping its brow. Soccer’s European governing body is currently ushering in so-called “financial fair play” guidelines designed to stamp out the gross commercial mismanagement that permeates the game. But even after splashing out 100 million euros on a single player, the Spanish club will probably stay on the right side of the referee.

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

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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.

    • 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."
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