European banking correspondent
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Nov 6, 2014

UK banks face break-up threat as competition probe launched

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s big banks could be broken up after the country’s competition watchdog launched a full-blown investigation into services for small business customers and personal accounts because of a lack of competition.

It marks the latest step by authorities to break the dominance of the country’s big four lenders and is likely to keep the industry in the political spotlight ahead of next year’s election and beyond.

Nov 5, 2014

Wells Fargo sticks to what it knows in overseas push

LONDON, Nov 5 (Reuters) – Wells Fargo & Co, the
world’s biggest bank by stock market value, remains on the
lookout to buy loan portfolios in Europe but is in no hurry to
snap up an ailing bank to speed up its international growth, a
senior executive told Reuters.

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo emerged from the financial
crisis of 2008-2009 better placed than many rivals and is often
touted as a possible buyer of banks around the world.

Nov 5, 2014

Biggest banks brace for poisoned chalice of a place at the top table

LONDON, Nov 5 (Reuters) – About 30 banks will be formally
anointed as the industry’s most important players this week; a
rather dubious honour costing them billions of dollars each in
additional reserves and placing them under increased regulatory
scrutiny.

Policymakers have leaned on the world’s biggest banks to
raise their capital reserves by retaining earnings, selling
shares or curbing dividend payouts to avoid a repeat of the past
financial crisis and large-scale taxpayer-funded bailouts.

Nov 3, 2014

HSBC sets aside $1.8 bln for forex probe, misconduct

LONDON (Reuters) – HSBC’s profits fell short of expectations in the third quarter after the bank set aside $1.8 billion for misconduct settlements and compensation for customers, including a potential fine for rigging currency markets.

The provision and a jump in HSBC’s everyday compliance costs show the impact of regulators’ increasing efforts to clamp down on bad behaviour in the global banking industry that contributed to the financial crisis.

Nov 3, 2014

HSBC sets aside $378 million for forex probe

LONDON (Reuters) – HSBC Holdings (HSBA.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has set aside $378 million for a potential settlement with Britain’s financial watchdog for alleged manipulation of currency markets as the bank reported a 12 percent fall in underlying profit in the third quarter.

Europe’s largest bank by market value provided $1.8 billion in total in the quarter for fines, settlements and compensation costs related to mis-selling loan insurance.

Oct 31, 2014

Bank of England increases lenders’ risk buffers, but less than expected

LONDON (Reuters) – The Bank of England told British banks on Friday they will be required to hold more capital to guard against the risks of bad loans, but the new measures were less stringent than many had expected.

Shares in Barclays (BARC.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) — one of the banks which analysts had feared might be hit hardest by the new rules — rose a hefty 7 percent on the news, and shares in Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) also gained.

Oct 31, 2014

Barclays sets aside 500 million pounds for FX fines as profits rise

LONDON (Reuters) – Barclays Plc (BARC.L: Quote, Profile, Research) set aside 500 million pounds ($800 million) in the third quarter to cover potential fines for rigging currency markets, taking the shine off a rise in profits as its retail business performed well and costs were cut.

The British bank on Thursday joined other big rivals in signalling that a settlement over alleged manipulation of the $5.3 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market is near with regulators in both the United Kingdom and the United States.

Oct 30, 2014

Barclays sets aside $800 mln for FX probe, third-quarter profits up

LONDON (Reuters) – Barclays Plc has set aside 500 million pounds ($799 million) to cover potential fines for manipulating currency markets, taking the shine off a rise in third quarter profits as its retail business performed well and costs were cut.

The British bank said on Thursday that it had set aside cash for the “ongoing investigations into foreign exchange with certain regulatory authorities”, joining other big banks signaling a settlement is near.

Oct 30, 2014

Barclays sets aside $800 mln for FX probe, Q3 profits up

LONDON, Oct 30 (Reuters) – Barclays Plc has set
aside 500 million pounds ($799 million) to cover potential fines
for manipulating currency markets, taking the shine off a rise
in third quarter profits as its retail business performed well
and costs were cut.

The British bank said on Thursday that it had set aside cash
for the “ongoing investigations into foreign exchange with
certain regulatory authorities”, joining other big banks
signalling a settlement is near.

Oct 28, 2014

Standard Chartered shares tumble to five-year low as profit slumps on bad debts

HONG KONG/LONDON (Reuters) – Asia-focused bank Standard Chartered Plc (STAN.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) warned investors that profits would fall in the second half of this year, after quarterly earnings were hit by a surge in bad loans and higher regulation and compliance costs.

Standard Chartered said that as bad debts rise in key markets like India and China, it will step up its restructuring plan and aims to cut $400 million more from costs next year.

    • 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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