European banking correspondent
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Feb 27, 2014

RBS seeks to regain Britons’ trust after $13.6 billion loss

LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) launched a campaign to transform itself from pariah to trusted British lender by slashing costs and repositioning itself as a UK-focused retail and commercial bank.

New chief executive Ross McEwan is under pressure to restore RBS’s reputation with the general public and its political masters after a torrid year of fines, customer complaints and technology problems.

Feb 27, 2014

RBS seeks to regain Britons’ trust after 8.2 billion pound loss

LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Bank of Scotland launched a campaign to transform itself from pariah to trusted British lender by slashing costs and repositioning itself as a UK-focused retail and commercial bank.

New chief executive Ross McEwan is under pressure to restore RBS’s reputation with the general public and its political masters after a torrid year of fines, customer complaints and technology problems.

Feb 26, 2014

Hunting credit, firms look beyond wary EU banks

LONDON (Reuters) – When David Armitt needed to refinance loans last year for his 153-year-old manufacturing company in Yorkshire, he found British banks reluctant to lend. So he took the nuclear option.

The finance director in Huddersfield turned instead to San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, borrowing $28 million after putting up as collateral the gearboxes that his firm, David Brown Gear Systems, makes to propel nuclear submarines.

Feb 25, 2014

Lloyds urged to avoid “irresponsible” bond buyback

LONDON, Feb 25 (Reuters) – Lloyds Banking Group has
been urged by a campaigner for retail investors not to be
“irresponsible and short-termist” over how it treats bondholders
who helped to rescue the bank in the financial crisis.

The British bank, which is 33 percent owned by UK taxpayers,
told investors this month that it could buy back at face value
the 7.5 billion pounds ($12.5 billion) of bonds it issued to
strengthen its capital in 2009 because new European rules mean
that they are now unlikely to count towards its capital buffers.

Feb 24, 2014

HSBC’s potential Brazil bill adds to legal headache

LONDON (Reuters) – HSBC (HSBA.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) may end up paying as much as $600 million to compensate customers in Brazil who lost savings a quarter of a century ago, another in a long list of possible payouts that banks face for past transgressions.

Thousands of Brazilian savers have taken legal action against local banks, including HSBC’s unit, alleging they were short-changed when hyperinflation led the government to peg rates paid on savings to a number of indexes. Brazil’s Supreme Court began reviewing the case in November.

Feb 24, 2014

HSBC warns of choppy markets as profit misses forecasts

LONDON (Reuters) – HSBC (HSBA.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) missed market expectations with a 9 percent increase in annual pretax profit and warned of greater volatility in emerging markets this year, sending its shares down 4 percent.

Europe’s largest bank has axed more than 40,000 jobs and sold or closed 60 businesses over the past three years to cut costs, but still missed targets for cost efficiency and return on equity last year.

Feb 23, 2014

HSBC cost cuts set to lift profits as CEO faces growth challenge

LONDON (Reuters) – HSBC’s (HSBA.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) profits are expected to rise by almost a fifth to $24 billion for 2013 as it benefits from a cost-cutting drive that spans managing its documents more efficiently to telling staff to use business class air travel less.

Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver has sold or closed 60 businesses, axed 40,000 jobs and taken a knife to costs since taking over three years ago, and last year’s operating costs are expected to tumble $5 billion from 2012 and lift profits.

Feb 20, 2014

Lloyds retail bondholders ready for a fight

LONDON, Feb 20 (Reuters) – Lloyds Banking Group
risks a revolt among retail investors and also hedge funds and
institutions after warning it may buy back on the cheap
high-interest bonds that helped rescue the bank in the financial
crisis.

Lloyds, 33 percent owned by the UK taxpayer, told investors
last week the 7.5 billion pounds ($12.5 billion) of bonds it
issued to strengthen its capital in 2009 are now unlikely to
count towards its capital buffers under new European rules,
potentially making them worthless.

Feb 17, 2014

UK fraud agency charges three ex-Barclays bankers over Libor

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s fraud agency started criminal proceedings against three former bankers at Britain’s Barclays Plc on Monday for the alleged manipulation of Libor interest rates.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said it has charged Peter Charles Johnson, Jonathan James Mathew and Stylianos Contogoulas with conspiracy to defraud between June 2005 and August 2007.

Feb 17, 2014

SFO charges three ex-Barclays bankers over Libor

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s fraud agency started criminal proceedings against three former bankers at Britain’s Barclays Plc (BARC.L: Quote, Profile, Research) on Monday for the alleged manipulation of Libor interest rates.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said it has charged Peter Charles Johnson, Jonathan James Mathew and Stylianos Contogoulas with conspiracy to defraud between June 2005 and August 2007.

    • 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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