Latest articles from Western Europe

Santander spots an overlooked opportunity

August 1, 2005

When Santander bought Abbey, not everyone agreed it was a good idea. But its strategy for turning around the ailing bank has proved the doubters wrong, as Brian Caplen reports.

Savings banks defend special status

August 1, 2005

The war of words between savings banks and commercial banks is heating up as the European Commission prepares its study of obstacles to banking consolidation in the EU.
“The cajas [Spanish savings banks] acquire the leftovers of bankrupt banks,” said Juan Ramón Quintás, chairman of the Confederación Española de Cajas de Ahorros (CECA) – the association of Spanish savings banks.

‘Operation Big’ heralds the era of hybrid capital

August 1, 2005

Corporates’ historic avoidance of hybrid capital is giving way to enthusiasm following a change of heart by rating agencies. Now Sweden’s Vattenfall is leading the charge with a groundbreaking deal, structured by Citigroup. Edward Russell-Walling explains.

Pragmatism eases path to exchange

August 1, 2005

Slough Estates faced a few hurdles in its plans to replace old bonds with current-value new bonds. But, as Edward Russell-Walling recounts, the investors recognised a good deal when they saw it.

UK banks should go Continental

August 1, 2005

Storm clouds are gathering above the UK banking sector. Azhar Rizvi recommends taking shelter in continental Europe.

Inclusive agenda needed to combat terrorism

August 1, 2005

While tighter security is essential in preventing terrorism so, too, is addressing its root causes. This includes tackling disaffection with globalisation, which must be seen to benefit the wider community.

A cause for celebration

July 4, 2005

DEPFA has gone from strength to strength since it split from the Aareal mortgage bank and moved to Dublin. Jan Wagner reports from Frankfurt and Dublin on the most profitable bank active in Germany today.
Germany’s mortgage banks have been partying recently. In May, Eurohypo held a bash to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the “Jumbo Pfandbrief”. Since its introduction, the high-volume Jumbo has spawned a €600bn European market.
As the market leader, Eurohypo and its peers whooped it up. Attractions included plenty of champagne and an elephant installed in front of the Frankfurt stock exchange. Another Pfandbrief conference, replete with champagne, was hosted in June.

UniCredit’s HVB deal does not signify a trend

July 4, 2005

It will take more than the Italian bank’s takeover of the less than attractive German institution to prompt a torrent of consolidation.

UniCredit shows its strength with German merger

July 4, 2005

UniCredit, Italy’s biggest bank by market capitalisation, last month announced a €15bn deal to merge with Germany’s HypoVereinsbank.
The news will be welcomed by the Italian president, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, who has a background in banking and is an unapologetic enthusiast for European integration.

Tech strategies for Caixa Galicia’s big switch-over

July 4, 2005

To make the radical change from selling products to services, Jose Valino, CIO at Spanish savings bank Caixa Galicia, uses consultants wisely and co-operates with other banks on technology development. He tells Dan Barnes about bridging the gap between the business and IT departments and helping customers to understand the new systems.

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