The Great Debate

from Breakingviews:

Rob Cox: The worry now is a brewing M&A bubble

By Rob Cox
May 13, 2014

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

In the Netherlands, bankers turn to God — by law

February 12, 2014

 

Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs, once famously said he believed banks were doing “God’s work.” Now, the Netherlands is going one step further: starting later this year, all 90,000 Dutch bankers will have to swear an oath that they’ll do their “utmost to maintain and promote confidence in the financial-services industry. So help me God.”

Transforming Post Offices into banks

February 5, 2014

The U.S. postal service inspector general put out a report last week suggesting an intriguing way to shore up the ailing institution’s finances: Let the mailman double as a bank teller.

What’s your bank worth?

February 26, 2013

Half a decade has passed since the financial crisis, and yet the behemoth banks that caused economic chaos remain much as they were before – influential, opaque and potentially dangerous. It doesn’t have to be this way. Radical transparency could not only boost the industry, it could safeguard the economy. Forget “mark to market” and quarterly filings. Require every bank to report the value of its assets and liabilities on a daily basis. Don’t believe it can’t be done. Realize that it must be.

How to do PR for banks

February 20, 2013

Big banks — at least in Europe — are putting on a new, highly branded, and more contrite face.  Barclays is embarking on something it calls “Project Transform”’; Deutsche Bank has announced its “2015+” strategy and is pushing for what its CEO has called “deliberate” “uncomfortable change”. UBS has its own 2015 strategy, and the head of its investment banking unit publicly proclaimed that the industry has become “too arrogant, too self-convinced”.

Banks thrive, while homeowners still suffer

February 20, 2013

A year ago the federal government and 49 states completed a $25 billion agreement with the nation’s largest mortgage servicers to settle claims of “robo-signing” and unlawful foreclosure practices. President Barack Obama announced the creation of the federal-state mortgage securities working group in his 2012 State of the Union address. The nation seemed on the verge of transforming the way banks treat struggling homeowners ‑ particularly those with “underwater” mortgages, in which a homeowner owes more than the house is worth.

Occupy the mortgage lenders

October 21, 2011

By Simon Johnson
The opinions expressed are his own.

Participants in the Occupy Wall Street movement are right to argue that the big banks have never properly been investigated for the mortgage origination, aggregation, and securitization behavior that was central to the financial crisis – and to the loss of more than eight million jobs. But, thanks to the efforts of New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, and others, serious discussion has started in the United States about an out-of court mortgage settlement between state attorney generals and prominent financial-sector firms.

How big banks can fix their leadership blindspots

October 18, 2011

By Katrina Pugh
The opinions expressed are her own.

In the jitteriness over the stock market’s worst quarter in two years, a racing volatility index, and protests spreading across the nation’s major cities, all bank leadership (and perhaps all corporate leadership) needs to ask a fundamentally new question: “What blindspots are dogging us?”  This hardly seems like a radical question. After all, most arbitrators make their money off of other people’s blindspots by seeing around corners where others can’t.

Housing double-dip threatens banks

By J Saft
September 2, 2010

Another dip in U.S. housing looks likely, bringing with it difficulties for banks and for their government guarantors.

A painful holiday’s end for Europe

August 24, 2010

Europe’s long summer holiday still has a week to run but this year’s reentry will bring with it evidence that very little progress has been made on the issues that threaten to rend the currency union and upend the global economy.