European banking correspondent
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Oct 21, 2014

HSBC boss says EU banker bonus cap a ‘retrograde’ step

LONDON (Reuters) – European rules to cap bankers’ bonuses at twice fixed pay are “a retrograde step” that could add to difficulty in recruiting staff to the industry, the head of Europe’s biggest bank HSBC said on Tuesday.

Europe has said banks can only pay bonuses to staff equivalent to twice their fixed pay and last week said new ‘allowances’ introduced by many to meet the rules counted as variable pay, so would need to be restructured again. Banks say changes already made would reduce risk-taking by staff, with bonuses to be paid in future years or potentially taken back.

Oct 16, 2014

Monte dei Paschi leads euro bank falls as stress tests loom

MILAN/LONDON, Oct 16 (Reuters) – Shares in Italy’s
third-biggest bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena slumped
to an all-time low on Thursday, as fears it could fail European
stress tests combined with a fraught global economic backdrop
which weighed on the sector.

The European Central Bank (ECB) will unveil the results of
its balance sheet review and stress tests on Oct. 26 and Monte
dei Paschi is seen by many analysts as one of the banks most at
risk of failing, despite raising 5 billion euros ($6.4 billion)
from shareholders in June to bulk up its balance sheet.

Oct 15, 2014

EU watchdog says bankers’ allowances breach bonus rule

LONDON (Reuters) – New types of allowance paid to bankers are nearly all in breach of the European Union’s cap on bonuses and must be changed by the end of the year, the EU banking watchdog said on Wednesday, raising the prospect that banks will have to bump up basic pay or risk losing top staff.

The sight of bankers pocketing hefty sums at a time when many people are hit by pay freezes and high unemployment across Europe prompted the EU to cap the bonuses of bankers earning more than 500,000 euros ($630,000) a year.

Oct 14, 2014

Social media: More hindrance than help in banks’ cyber crime fight

LONDON (Reuters) – Banks are fighting an uphill battle to protect themselves and their client accounts from cyber attacks, and the sometimes careless use of social media by customers and staff isn’t making the fight any easier.

British police and banks this week warned customers about the rise in criminals using social media to strike up a relationship and then try to get money from them.

Oct 12, 2014

Britain’s ring-fence a new hurdle for bank directors

LONDON/DUBLIN, Oct 12 (Reuters) – Britain’s major lenders
may find it hard to hire dozens of directors that are required
as part of a radical reshape of the industry aimed at protecting
it from future investment bank crashes.

Britain wants banks such as HSBC, Barclays
and the UK arm of Spain’s Santander to ring fence their
retail units from their wholesale operations, including creating
a separate board for their retail divisions that would be
independent of the parent group.

Oct 10, 2014

Bank of England had cash ready in case Scotland chose independence

LONDON, Oct 10 (Reuters) – The Bank of England planned to
shore up Britain’s financial system quickly if Scotland voted
for independence last month, with extra banknotes ready in case
of big withdrawals from Scottish banks.

Scots voted on Sept. 18 to keep their centuries-old union
with the rest of the United Kingdom. Opinion polls running up to
the referendum had suggested a tight outcome, and on Friday the
BoE disclosed what might have happened if Scots had voted ‘yes’.

Oct 6, 2014

UK banks have three months to detail protection for high street clients

LONDON, Oct 6 (Reuters) – Britain has given its banks three
months to show how they plan to protect their retail customers
from riskier parts of their operations.

The Bank of England is forcing lenders to set up a boundary
around their high street operations in an effort to protect
taxpayers from any repetition of the multi-billion pound
bailouts of investment banking operations that occurred under
the financial crisis.

Oct 2, 2014

UK should investigate if Wonga lending fraudulent: MP

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain should consider more legislation to regulate the short-term loans industry and authorities should examine lending practices by market leader Wonga to consider if they were fraudulent, a UK politician said on Thursday.

Wonga, Britain’s biggest short-term lender, said on Thursday it was writing off the debt of 330,000 customers, worth about 220 million pounds ($355 million), after the financial regulator told the firm it was not properly assessing if customers could pay back loans.

Oct 2, 2014

Wonga writes off debt for 330,000 customers

LONDON (Reuters) – UK short-term lender Wonga is writing off the debt of around 330,000 customers worth about 220 million pounds, after being forced to overhaul its lending practices by Britain’s financial regulator.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said on Thursday that Wonga had entered into a so-called voluntary requirement agreement to make the changes, which ensures immediate redress for consumers while allowing the regulator to continue investigations and possible enforcement action.

Oct 2, 2014

UK lender Wonga writes off debt for 330,000 customers

LONDON, Oct 2 (Reuters) – UK short-term lender Wonga is
writing off the outstanding debt for around 330,000 customers at
a cost of about 220 million pounds ($356 million), after being
forced to overhaul its lending practices by Britain’s financial
regulator.

The Financial Conduct Authority said on Thursday Wonga had
entered into a so-called voluntary requirement agreement to make
the changes, which ensures immediate redress for consumers while
allowing the regulator to continue investigations and possible
enforcement action.

    • About Steve

      "Responsible for overseeing coverage of the European bank sector and direct coverage of the international UK-based banks, based in London. Have been in current role for three years, and for previous three years was UK banking reporter. Have over 15 years experience as a financial newswire journalist in London and New York."
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