Latest articles from Banking, Regulation & Risk

The big squeeze

April 4, 2005

As regulation tightens, banks are taking a firm stand. While acknowledging some rules are necessary, they want some room to manoeuvre. Michael Imeson reports.
The law of unintended consequences has once more been at work. International regulators, bent on constraining the global financial services industry with ever more laws and rules, have unwittingly helped to bring about the creation of a powerful counterforce, the International Banking Federation (IbFed). Its main purpose: to protect the vital interests of banks around the world from harmful legislative and regulatory action and other threats.
The banking industry accepts that much regulation – domestic as well as international – is necessary and, although there is a great deal of regulation that is of borderline use and cumbersome in its approach, they can live with it.

Improve productivity to make the most of branch popularity

March 7, 2005

A survey by Booz Allen Hamilton shows that, in much of western Europe, the branch is still customers’ preferred interface with their banks. Ironically, it is often in the regions where the branch is most popular that customers are the most dissatisfied with service. And even more worryingly a second survey by Finalta shows that bank are making poor use of this communication channel. Stephen Timewell digests the data.

Microfinance gains momentum

February 2, 2005

Evidence is accumulating to show that microcredit can be a profitable business for commercial banks. Stephen Timewell reports on progress in the International Year of Microfinance.

Action to keep valuable clients

January 3, 2005

The EU’s attempts to make offshore savers pay tax are forcing banks to devise some innovative strategies to protect this sizeable and lucrative market, reports Michael Imeson.

Hopes pinned on chip-based cards

January 3, 2005

Banks in Europe are turning to chip and PIN payment cards not just to combat fraud but also in the hope that greater security will boost usage and strengthen their relationship with their customers. Stephen Timewell reports.

Playing with fire

December 1, 2004

Leading investment banks’ lucrative relationships with hedge funds have multiplied across a number of business silos. But their exposure to risk has grown too. Could their overlapping business lines spell trouble in difficult markets?

Keeping customers at close range

December 1, 2004

Not many people know but Rabobank is Europe’s biggest internet bank. Micheal Imeson explains how the Dutch bank is building on this, while striving to maintain its dominance in other sectors.
A small, unpaid army is at work in the Netherlands. A band of 40-50 men and women – all Rabobank pensioners – are targeting old people’s homes throughout the country. Their mission: to recruit as many elderly people as possible to the bank’s internet service. Their tactics: to be invited to care homes to teach residents en masse how to use computers, surf the web and make the most of internet banking.

EU’s plan to regulate is fiercely opposed

December 1, 2004

Credit rating agencies, currently under EU scrutiny, maintain that they need neither harmonisation of standards nor more rules – and the banking industry agrees. Sergio Beristain reports.

Italy’s retail sector gets a much-needed shake-up

November 4, 2004

Massimo Arrighetti, head of retail at Italy’s Banca Intesa, talks to Stephen Timewell about the earthquake in his bank’s retail sector that has led not only to a radical rethink, but also to a step change in processes.
When Banco Ambrosiano Veneto, Cariplo and Banca Commerciale Italiana joined forces in late 2002 to form the largest bank in Italy, Banca Intesa, they also formed a bank with a staggering 1,500 different retail products.

Covered bonds wake up to a new world

November 4, 2004

Judith Hardt, secretary general, European Mortgage Federation explores the EU regulatory developments in covered bonds – past, present and future.

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