Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ's purchase of Thailand-based Bank of Ayudhya last year was indicative of the wealth of opportunities opening up in the south-east Asian economy.
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Algeria’s banking sector is one of the biggest in Africa, but it is also one of the most opaque and is dominated by state banks. Yet private lenders, all of which are foreign-owned, still find ways to operate profitably and many are wanting to expand.
Investment banks have experienced huge changes since the global financial crisis and are still struggling to adapt their business models. But while the industry might have to make do with much lower returns in future, it is far from being on its knees.
Ecobank’s reputation took a battering last year as it became mired in a well-publicised corporate governance crisis. Its new chief executive, Albert Essien, has restored some calm, and he tells Paul Wallace how he hopes to make the kind of returns that will entice more international investors to buy its stock.
Contracting growth in Italy since the beginning of the year has dampened any optimism for good first-half results at the country’s largest banks, after record losses in 2013. Although lenders have largely cleaned up their balance sheets, the credit quality of smaller businesses remains a problem.
Business is picking up for Rwanda’s banks following 2013’s slowdown. But competition is becoming more intense as foreign banks increasingly look to enter the fast-growing east African country.
Caught up in European regulation, Germany’s public banks are trying to adapt to new challenges. Across all three banking pillars in the country, financial institutions are particularly struggling with increased competition in retail banking and low profitability.
New regulatory pressures and slow economic growth have been taking their toll on the US's small regional lenders, leading to worries that many of them will be squeezed out of the market. But results from the first quarter of 2014 show that these smaller players are actually performing better than the country's larger lenders.
The complicated geographical and political make-up of Bosnia-Herzegovina, combined with its struggling economy and low purchasing power, makes life difficult for its overcrowded banking market. However, hope is on the horizon as economic growth picks up and looming elections bring promise of a more investor-friendly financial system.
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