Latest articles from Western Europe

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June 6, 2005

Spain’s cajas – non-profit making savings banks – are thriving and have considerable clout in terms of market share. 

Spanish real estate lifts retail market

June 6, 2005

Spain’s retail banks are enjoying the fruits of a property boom that began in the late 1990s and is still feeding the mortgage sector. In addition, they are looking to service smaller businesses.

Private banking

June 6, 2005

The other axis on which the fortunes of the two rivals have recently pivoted has been the quiet world of Swiss private banking. In 2004, private banking and wealth management contributed 38% of UBS’s pre-tax profits, almost matching the 40% from the investment bank. At Credit Suisse, the proportion is even higher, with the private bank alone accounting for 42% of the group’s net income last year.

Tower of Strength

June 6, 2005

The changes in fortune of the two giant Swiss banks, Credit Suisse and UBS, offer lessons in growth strategy to bank CEOs. Geraldine Lambe and Sophie Röell look at the strategies that have worked and those that have not.

Stampede for Turkey as EU membership beckons

June 6, 2005

KoÇ Financial Services, a 50-50 joint venture between Koç Holding of Turkey and UniCredito of Italy, has acquired 57.4% of Yapi ve Kredi Bankasi for €1.160bn. The deal, May 9, comes as foreign banks rush headlong to acquire Turkish banking assets ahead of membership talks between Ankara and the EU in October.

Building societies retain resilience

June 6, 2005

The building society sector has survived demutualisation and clung on to sizeable shares of the mortgage and savings markets. But could there be more mergers in the pipeline? Michael Imeson reports.
The day after Tony Blair was returned as UK prime minister for a third term last month, the outcome of a markedly different sort of election was announced. Philip Williamson, chief executive of the Nationwide Building Society, was voted chairman of the Building Societies Association (BSA) for 2005/6.

£3bn ABSA deal to boost Barclays’ African profile

June 6, 2005

The UK’s Barclays is investing close to £3bn in South Africa to get control of that country’s biggest retail bank, Absa – the biggest foreign purchase ever by the British group. The deal has been approved by regulators and has the support of sufficient shareholders to be successful, after almost a year of behind-the-scenes talks.

A head for finance and a palate for pike

May 2, 2005

SocGen CEO Daniel Bouton talks to Karina Robinson about the sense and synergies of cross-border mergers.
Once I got over the disappointment of having lunch in the utilitarian Société Générale tower in the conurbation of La Défense, rather than in a superb Parisian restaurant such as Pierre Gagnaire, it was awfully pleasing on the food front.

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