George's Feed
May 27, 2013
via Breakingviews

How capital controls are prolonging Cypriots’ pain

Photo

By George Hay

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

Cyprus has a liquidity problem. It has been barely two months since depositors of the two largest lenders of this small island state, Bank of Cyprus and Laiki, learned they were to face losses of 60 to 100 percent on the part of their deposits exceeding 100,000 euros. Yet Nicosia’s streets haven’t been savaged by furious rioting, nor have the banks fallen victim to visible panic. The harm is more pernicious: capital controls are slowly smothering a domestic economy already hit by a heavy dose of austerity.

May 27, 2013

Breakingviews-How capital controls are prolonging Cypriots’ pain

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

By George Hay

LONDON, May 27 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Cyprus has a
liquidity problem. It has been barely two months since
depositors of the two largest lenders of this small island
state, Bank of Cyprus and Laiki, learned they were to face
losses of 60 to 100 percent on the part of their deposits
exceeding 100,000 euros ($129,278). Yet Nicosia’s streets
haven’t been savaged by furious rioting, nor have the banks
fallen victim to visible panic. The harm is more pernicious:
capital controls are slowly smothering a domestic economy
already hit by a heavy dose of austerity.

May 22, 2013

UK’s bank capital tsar all bark and no bite

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

By George Hay

LONDON, May 22 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Britain’s new bank
capital tsar is all bark and no bite. Back in November, the Bank
of England’s Financial Policy Committee warned that UK lenders
could be looking at a 50 billion pound capital hole. On May 22
it emerged that Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L: Quote, Profile, Research) and Royal Bank of
Scotland (RBS.L: Quote, Profile, Research) won’t actually need to raise any new capital at
all. It’s not a great start for the new regulatory framework.

May 10, 2013
via Breakingviews

BT’s free sports gambit tries to out-Sky Sky

Photo

By George Hay and Quentin Webb

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

BT’s free sports gambit is an attempt to out-Sky Sky. The UK telco on May 9 surprised investors by offering new broadband users the chance to watch live Premier League soccer for no extra charge. The 2 percent, 6 percent and 12 percent drops in the share prices of BT, BSkyB and smaller competitor TalkTalk may look like an extreme response to the move, but they reflect rational fears of a price war.

May 10, 2013

Breakingviews:UK’s sovereign debt precaution at odds with EU

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

By Peter Thal Larsen and George Hay

HONG KONG/LONDON, May 10 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Britain’s
principled approach to banks’ holdings of sovereign debt could
have a perverse outcome. The watchdog has taken the sensible
step of demanding that lenders expect big losses if government
bonds default. That helps fix one of the biggest flaws in
measuring bank capital. But pan-European rules mean that risky
euro zone debt is excluded from the precautions.

May 8, 2013

Sainsbury’s slow approach to banking makes sense

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

By George Hay

LONDON, May 8 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L: Quote, Profile, Research)
has taken another baby step towards becoming a real bank. The UK
supermarket chain confirmed on May 8 that it would buy out
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L: Quote, Profile, Research) from their 50:50 joint venture,
but continued to shy away from offering the main products that
banks offer – current accounts and mortgages. The apparent
timidity could be a holding strategy.

May 3, 2013
via Breakingviews

RBS needs to make the case for freedom

Photo

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

Royal Bank of Scotland needs to make the case for its freedom. The UK bank’s management is now publicly stating that the process to sell down the UK government’s 81 percent stake will begin in under a year. But a quick sale looks as double-edged as RBS’s own current performance.

May 1, 2013
via Breakingviews

Barclays in capital fog after Deutsche U-turn

Photo

By George Hay

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

Barclays is under the spotlight after Deutsche Bank’s  capital U-turn. Having trumpeted an organic capital strategy since being appointed co-chief executives of the German bank last year, Juergen Fitschen and Anshu Jain finally opted for a 3 billion pound equity placing to bolster capital. Barclays new boss Antony Jenkins doesn’t look immune to a similar volte face.

May 1, 2013

Breakingviews-Barclays in capital fog after Deutsche U-turn

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

By George Hay

LONDON, May 1 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Barclays (BARC.L: Quote, Profile, Research) is
under the spotlight after Deutsche Bank’s (DBKGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) capital
U-turn. Having trumpeted an organic capital strategy since being
appointed co-chief executives of the German bank last year,
Juergen Fitschen and Anshu Jain finally opted for a 3 billion
pound equity placing to bolster capital. Barclays new boss
Antony Jenkins doesn’t look immune to a similar volte face.

Apr 26, 2013
via Breakingviews

BBVA is bank of choice for Spanish bulls

Photo

By George Hay

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

BBVA  is the bank of choice for Spanish bulls. Sightings of that most Iberian of beasts are few and far between. But Spain’s second-largest lender looks best for anyone believing that the country’s economy is on the eve of a recovery. 

    • 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