European banking correspondent
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Jun 25, 2014

Wonga to pay $4.4 mln compensation for fake legal letters

LONDON, June 25 (Reuters) – Britain’s biggest payday lender
Wonga will pay 2.6 million pounds ($4.4 million) in compensation
to 45,000 customers after sending them bogus letters from
non-existent law firms that threatened legal action.

The short-term loan industry has come under increasing
scrutiny from politicians, regulators and even the Church of
England for high levels of interest rates that cause hardship
for many of its customers.

Jun 24, 2014

HSBC to halve countries served by private bank, sells assets

LONDON (Reuters) – HSBC (HSBA.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is halving the number of countries its private bank serves after selling a portfolio of Swiss banking assets, the latest bank to narrow its wealth management focus in a bid to improve profitability and cut compliance risk.

HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank by market value, said its private bank served customers from about 150 countries but that was being reduced to about 70.

Jun 13, 2014

Barclays to issue $4 bln more CoCo bonds after swap offer

LONDON, June 13 (Reuters) – Britain’s Barclays Plc
is to issue almost $4 billion of bonds that can convert into
shares if the bank hits trouble after an offer to debt
investors to exchange old bonds had much higher than expected
take-up.

The new bonds are the latest move by Barclays to adjust its
balance sheet structure to improve its capital and leverage
ratios to meet stricter new regulations.

Jun 6, 2014

JPM investment bank boss says ‘laser focus’ on costs cuts

LONDON (Reuters) – JPMorgan’s new solo head of its investment bank said he would be “laser focused” on reducing costs as the industry is likely to face a tough couple of years in terms of growing revenues.

“For the next year or two the industry’s top-line will probably struggle. The long-term trends are good, but in the short term we need to adjust to the new reality,” said Daniel Pinto, London-based chief executive of the corporate and investment bank (CIB) at JPMorgan Chase & Co., the biggest U.S. bank by assets.

Jun 6, 2014

Looming BNP fine unnerves bankers hoping for calmer times

LONDON (Reuters) – A prized collection of French paintings and furniture at a London museum provided a fitting backdrop this week for a dinner attended by 40 big bank bosses, where the conversation buzz was the huge fine potentially facing France’s biggest bank.

BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) may have to pay a fine of about $10 billion for allegedly evading U.S. sanctions, sources say, a penalty that executives from banks in Europe and the United States fear marks a step-change in the scale of punishments on offenders in the financial services industry.

Jun 4, 2014

Bank regulation issues seen settled in six months – Osborne

LONDON (Reuters) – Chancellor George Osborne voiced confidence on Tuesday that politicians and regulators from major economies will achieve a framework for sorting out problems with bank regulation within six months.

The Financial Stability Board, the regulatory arm of the Group of 20 leading economies (G20) that is chaired by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, is targeting a G20 meeting on Nov. 15-16 in Brisbane, Australia, for resolving questions such as how to handle big, multinational banks if they hit trouble.

Jun 4, 2014

Bank regulation issues seen settled in six months: UK finance minister

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s finance minister George Osborne voiced confidence on Tuesday that politicians and regulators from major economies will achieve a framework for sorting out problems with bank regulation within six months.

The Financial Stability Board, the regulatory arm of the Group of 20 leading economies (G20) that is chaired by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, is targeting a G20 meeting on Nov. 15-16 in Brisbane, Australia, for resolving questions such as how to handle big, multinational banks if they hit trouble.

Jun 3, 2014

Risk, regulation and rehabilitation: bankers meet to gauge progress

LONDON, June 4 (Reuters) – How far banks are along the path
to rehabilitation will be thrown into sharp focus this week when
politicians, central bankers and bank bosses gather in London -
Europe’s finance capital and also the site of many of the
industry’s ills.

Bank bosses say risk-taking has been cut and banking culture
is on the mend but critics say more needs to be done to restore
trust in an industry blamed by many people for the financial
crisis, and to avoid the need for taxpayer bailouts.

May 30, 2014

UK Treasury red-faced over Lloyds sale release error

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s finance ministry mistakenly released potentially market-moving information on Friday and blamed a website error for erroneously saying it planned to sell 4 billion pounds ($6.7 billion) of shares in Lloyds Banking Group.

The government is not planning to sell the shares, and the release was “completely erroneous”, a Treasury spokesman said. “The Treasury is urgently looking into why this happened,” he said.

May 29, 2014

Shareholder anger simmers worldwide over bankers’ pay

LONDON (Reuters) – Investors owning almost 6 billion shares rejected the pay plans of 10 of the world’s biggest banks in recent weeks as anger over excessive bonuses reached record levels in Britain and jumped sharply from a year ago in the United States.

Hefty bankers’ bonuses have been blamed for contributing to the 2008/09 financial crisis and banks have since changed pay structures, but many politicians, shareholders and members of the general public say the industry has not gone far enough.

    • 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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