Latest articles from Western Europe

Stronger companies give Spain hope of busy 2004

January 5, 2004

Investment bankers in Spain are looking forward to an active 2004 as Spanish companies lift their heads above the parapet with repaired balance sheets and more positive stockmarket sentiment. This follows two years, 2001 and 2002, which Antonio Rodriguez-Pina, president of Credit Suisse First Boston (Espana) calls “the worst and most difficult of the last 20 years”.

Making a splash with cedulas

January 5, 2004

A boom in Spanish covered bond issuance has been good news for the savings banks. Head of capital markets at Caja Madrid Carlos Stilianopoulos tells The Banker about dealing with commercial banks, cooperation with smaller cajas and plans to extend the market abroad.
“By definition, a triple-A market is relatively boring,” according to Carlos Stilianopoulos, head of capital markets at Spain’s Caja Madrid. But if he is right that Spanish covered bond issuance has grown by 90% in the past year, then a little excitement is surely justified – especially for Caja Madrid, which is at the heart of it.

Boomtime for covered bonds

January 5, 2004

Anthony O’Connor reports on why covered bonds are becoming a favourite funding tool for banks.
Although the legislation has been in place for Spanish banks and financial institutions to issue cedulas or covered bonds since the early 1980s, it is really only in the past couple of years that issuance has boomed. According to market data compiled by savings bank La Caixa, at mid-December 2003, nearly -60bn of cedulas hipotecarias – covered bonds backed by residential mortgages – are outstanding from nine issuers, with 32 transactions to date. Equally striking are figures for the end of 2003, which show that cedulas hipotecarias will account for about 13% of all mortgage funding, almost double that of 18 months ago. But opinion is split about why cedulas are becoming a favourite funding tool.

Spanish behemoths court their clients

January 5, 2004

Spain’s two banking giants both suffered loss of market share after recent mergers. SCH’s Enrique García Candelas and BBVA’s Julio López talk to Karina Robinson about their new client-focused strategies, designed to gain lost ground.

The sacred and the mundane

January 5, 2004

Javier Valls, chairman of Banco Popular Espańol, tells Karina Robinson about the strategy he and his brother Luis are using to ensure the bank remains successful and efficient.

Turkey deserves recognition for hard-won success

January 5, 2004

Turkey has come a long way in achieving stability in the past year, a fact that recent events threaten to overshadow.

Islamic Bank of Britain launch imminent

January 5, 2004

The financial sector is finally catching up with the demand for Islamic banking services. This year hopes to see the ground-breaking establishment of the IBB, which will cater to UK Muslims while also hoping to attract business from further afield.

An aficionado for the fine print

December 2, 2003

Jaime Caruana, governor of the Bank of Spain, demonstrates his mastery of the detail of Basel II and the Stability Pact to Karina Robinson.
I have been in this business too long. Two hours flew by as I questioned Jaime Caruana, governor of the Bank of Spain and chairman of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, on the intricacies of the
new capital accord, the detail of Spain’s economic miracle and the level of the euro.

Turkish exchange faces charges of negligence

December 2, 2003

Turkish state investigators probing the collapse of Imar Bankasi – a
medium-sized bank that was owned by one of Turkey's richest families,
the controversial Uzans – have filed legal suits against the Capital
Market Board, an agency regulating securities trading, and the Istanbul
Stock Exchange.

Peculiar powers for policing

November 3, 2003

Jan Wagner reports from Frankfurt on the unique powers of the German financial regulator but finds that its approach has not prevented banking troubles.

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