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European banks: Operating struggles and some external headwinds

January 15, 2019
Region:
Banks in Europe face a more difficult business environment in 2019 than last year. While the macro environment is still decent, momentum is cooling markedly. In addition, prominent political risks loom dangerously. On the operating side, banks are treading water. Their limited cost savings are being fully absorbed by declining revenues, and balance sheets continue to shrink despite a moderate pickup in lending. Profitability and capital levels are both stagnating. Only in a benign economic and political scenario will banks be able to return to growth this year. [more]

More documents from Jan Schildbach

62 (25-36)
March 17, 2016
Region:
25
Despite headwinds from slow economic growth, low interest rates and tighter regulation, European banks’ recovery continues. In 2015, banks’ core business with the private sector returned to growth, revenues rose and provisions for loan losses declined again. The sector has become more profitable and resilient. Challenges remain aplenty, but European banks are definitely heading in the right direction. [more]
December 18, 2015
Region:
26
With 2016 just around the corner, the outlook for the European banking sector in the new year looks more promising than it has been for almost a decade. Growth, though meagre, has returned to many business segments and regions. Despite unrelenting pressure on interest margins, total revenues are expanding. Asset quality is improving and profits in 2015 may be the highest since 2007. The biggest questions surround the future path of regulation (where another major round of tightening could paradoxically threaten the recently hard-won stability) and of the European and global economy (which has repeatedly and substantially surprised to the downside in recent years) in 2016. [more]
September 21, 2015
Region:
28
In German corporate lending business, the role played by the different banking groups varies considerably between individual industries. For instance, a relatively large share of loans to the manufacturing sector – and particularly the "core" of German industry, mechanical engineering and automotives – is provided by commercial banks. Lending to construction and agricultural firms, on the other hand, is dominated by savings banks and cooperative banks. The retail banks have also gained significant ground in the services sector over the past 10 years. Landesbanks have only two strongholds, utilities/mining and transport. [more]
August 21, 2015
Region:
29
After literally seven lean years, the European banking industry’s recovery from the financial crisis is now in full swing. Profits are at their highest level since 2007, revenues are growing across the board (helped by favourable currency effects) and loan losses are falling. Banks are also expanding business volumes. Capital ratios are on average substantially above Basel III requirements, though uncertainty has increased recently due to a pending further regulatory tightening (“Basel IV”). [more]
June 11, 2015
Region:
31
European banks had a successful start into 2015. Business activity improved, asset quality did so as well and profitability rose again, as the rebalancing of the industry made further progress. The ECB’s new large-scale market interventions helped strengthen sentiment in financial markets, and contributed to the continuing decline in the euro exchange rate – which on balance may have been beneficial for banks. [more]
March 19, 2015
Region:
32
Core revenues are getting better, loan losses are falling substantially and capital ratios have climbed to sustainable levels – European banks seem to have turned the corner in 2014, finally. Profits have more than doubled, asset growth has also resumed and banks have regained a bit of risk appetite. The outlook for 2015 is thus brighter than in most of the past few years. The still-elevated expenditure levels remain a significant drag on performance, though. [more]
December 5, 2014
Region:
33
2014 is witnessing a remarkable reversal in some important European banking trends of the past few years, according to the 9-month results of the continent’s largest banks. This is not solely a positive thing: apart from improvements in core revenues and a return to balance sheet expansion, expense levels are also rising again. Is deleveraging and shrinking over, then? [more]
August 20, 2014
Region:
35
The half-year results of large European banks offer ammunition to both optimists and pessimists: loan losses and administrative expenses are shrinking, but so are total revenues. Net interest income, the sickly child of recent years, finally seems to be stabilising; however, net income is down again to poor levels. The state of an industry with two distinct faces. [more]
June 25, 2014
Region:
36
Current results are still very weak, with total revenues and profits both at the lowest level since 2009. But the largest European banks can justifiably draw hope from a stabilisation in interest income as well as fees and commissions, from declining loan loss provisions and shrinking expenses. The bottom line may have broadly bottomed out, though pressure from litigation charges and the ECB’s balance sheet assessment remains high. New record capital levels abound. [more]
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