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May 3, 2013
via Breakingviews

RBS needs to make the case for freedom

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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
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Barclays in capital fog after Deutsche U-turn

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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
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BBVA is bank of choice for Spanish bulls

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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. 

Apr 23, 2013

Breakingviews- Justin Welby’s UK banks sermon welcome but flawed

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

By George Hay

LONDON, April 23 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Justin Welby’s
sermon on UK banks is welcome, but flawed. Britain’s new
Archbishop of Canterbury has called for a big UK bank to be
split up. Welby’s financial literacy means his views are, to an
unusual degree, worth listening to. Sadly, the time for penance
for the likes of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: Quote, Profile, Research) is probably
already past.

Apr 9, 2013

Breakingviews-Greek banks look bail-in proof – for now

(Updates share prices in Context)

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

By George Hay

LONDON, April 9 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Cypriot depositors
will be spitting tacks. Greece’s two largest banks, National
Bank of Greece (NBGr.AT: Quote, Profile, Research) and Eurobank (EFGr.AT: Quote, Profile, Research), need 15.6
billion euros of capital between them. They have been struggling
to attract private funds. But instead of suffering a
Cypriot-style scalping in the form of a proper bail-in, they
will be kept whole. What gives?

Apr 4, 2013
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HBOS top brass reap what they sowed

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By George Hay

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

HBOS’s top managers are finally starting to reap what they sowed. So far, official blame for the spectacular collapse of one of the UK’s biggest banks has been restricted to its former head of corporate lending Peter Cummings, who was fined 500,000 pounds by the UK regulator in September. A hard-hitting report by Britain’s Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards has rightly begun to point the finger at the very top.

Mar 27, 2013
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UK’s new bank capital tsar starts as good cop

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By George Hay

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

The UK’s new bank capital tsar has started life as a good cop. The Financial Policy Committee, created to monitor macroeconomic risks facing domestic lenders, has ordered banks to raise 25 billion pounds by the end of the year. That’s a lot, but it could have been worse.

Mar 22, 2013
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Review: Seeing through bankers’ woolly thinking

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By George Hay

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

How much capital do banks need? Ask the Basel Committee of global banking supervisors, and it will recommend 3 percent of total bank assets. Ask tougher observers like the UK’s banking commission, and you’ll hear 4 percent. But ask Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig, the economists behind The Bankers’ New Clothes, and you’re in for a shock: they’re after 30 percent.

Mar 18, 2013
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Europe’s bank-run defences have limits

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By George Hay

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

Europe’s defences against bank runs have limits that may be about to be tested. The decision to force insured depositors to fund part of Cyprus’ bailout has sparked fears that their counterparts in Italy and Spain will try to head off hypothetical losses of their own by withdrawing their holdings. If they do so in bulk, the European Central Bank would struggle to hold the line.

    • 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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