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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 about "Banking and financial markets"

155 Documents
November 21, 2019
Region:
1
In the lending and deposit-taking business with retail customers, there are substantial differences between the federal states. 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, per capita loan volumes in east Germany are significantly lower than in the west. The latter, in turn, is characterised by a certain north-south divide. Savings banks have a market share of 25-35% throughout the country, whereas cooperative banks have a much stronger presence in the south and west than in the east and north. The large banks achieve an above-average market share of 20-25% in the city states and east Germany. The spread between the federal states is smaller for deposit volumes than for credit volumes. Primarily the savings banks, cooperative banks and other commercial banks have to cope with a considerable deposit overhang and thus an "investment plight" in the negative interest rate environment. In east Germany, the deposit overhang is particularly large. Due to digitisation, changes to the established regional focuses might now be possible. [more]
November 20, 2019
Analyst:
2
Trading volumes in foreign exchange instruments have increased significantly across the board in 2019 compared to the last global FX survey three years ago. Surprisingly, the pivotal role of London as the main trading location was reconfirmed, despite fears around the impact of Brexit. Yet a general move to central clearing might challenge this after the UK leaves the EU. [more]
September 30, 2019
Region:
Analyst:
3
The future of bank branches has been under scrutiny for some time due to the increased usage of online and mobile banking. On top of the general trend, regional differences in demand for branch services may have important implications for the future of branch networks. Structurally fewer client visits in certain regions may exacerbate the pressure to close branches. Within Germany, the number of bank branches has declined sharply from around 40,000 in 2007 to some 28,000 in 2018. [more]
September 23, 2019
Region:
4
Improved performance in the second quarter has given European banks hope that 2019 may still end on a more conciliatory note and that longer-term prospects are not quite as gloomy as some fear. In H1, net interest income rose year-over-year, despite unrelenting margin pressure. Other revenue components were mixed, with fee and commission income disappointing again. Loans and total assets in general increased. Banks cut expenses further, while loan loss provisions picked up from record lows. In the end, profitability and capital levels remained largely stable. Once more, the transatlantic gulf in performance widened slightly, as US banks reported another rise in net income to a new all-time high. [more]
August 30, 2019
Region:
5
The number of bank branches in Germany has declined sharply, to 28,000 in 2018 from around 40,000 in 2007. With 33 bank branches per 100,000 inhabitants, branch density in Germany is still relatively high. Almost 70% of Germans visit a branch at least once per month. Clients who have a loan or a private pension plan or are a FinTech user are more likely to visit a bank branch, in contrast to Millennials and less wealthy Germans. In Q2, loans to German households were up by a record EUR 16.9 bn qoq and 4.4% yoy. Mortgages surged by EUR 13.2 bn and consumer loans grew dynamically by EUR 2.9 bn, too. Deposits again rose strongly by EUR 34.4 bn. [more]
July 22, 2019
Analyst:
6
Facebook’s Libra project aims to establish both a private digital currency backed by a basket of hard currencies and a global payment network. It is thus challenging many established players in the financial system, including central banks, credit institutions and payment providers. Facebook can integrate Libra services into its digital platforms and benefit from strong network effects. In Europe, Libra would enter a competitive but fragmented digital payments market. As a currency, Libra will carry a foreign exchange risk for Europeans. But if the ECB drove interest rates deeply below zero, Libra could offer an easy digital way out. The flipside, though, would be a loss of sovereignty for Europe. [more]
July 2, 2019
Analyst:
7
By providing a high degree of privacy in payments, cash helps to slow the growing information asymmetry between consumers and companies as well as between citizens and public authorities. As knowledge about your counterparty is power, privacy is crucial for individuals to safeguard their position when dealing with organisations which are more powerful than a single person. [more]
June 18, 2019
Region:
8
Mortgage loans in Germany have risen to EUR 1,240 bn in recent years (+29% since 2011) thanks to the strong economy and falling interest rates. To account for increased risks for the banks, supervisory authorities decided at the end of May to activate the countercyclical capital buffer for the first time. E.g., almost half of all new loans now have a rate fixation period of more than 10 years. Banks’ business with private households got off to a strong start in 2019. Net lending in the first quarter amounted to EUR 8.8 bn and deposits increased by EUR 21.8 bn, both record figures for the beginning of the year. Both mortgages and consumer loans grew strongly. [more]
June 4, 2019
Region:
Analyst:
9
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a significant step forward in the digitalisation and transformation of modern businesses. Investors are lining up to be part of the imminent change. AI attracted USD 24 bn in investments globally in 2018, a twelvefold increase since 2013. Within Europe, Germany, France and the UK are the frontrunners in experimentation and in the implementation of AI. Similar to earlier examples of information technology (IT) implementation in financial services, AI promises great efficiency gains and potential revenue increases and its potential contribution to bank profitability should not be underestimated. [more]
May 23, 2019
Region:
10
Shrinkage – and no end in sight: in the first quarter of the year, the European banks once more saw revenues and costs alike decline compared to 12 months ago (-2% each). Non-interest income was particularly weak. As a result, profitability dipped, with loan loss provisions also rising, albeit from very low levels. Banks tried to make up for the revenue loss by taking more risk and expanding their balance sheets. Total assets and risk-weighted assets both increased by 4%. Consequently, the average CET1 capital ratio fell 0.4 pp yet remained in comfortable territory. [more]
April 3, 2019
Region:
11
At the recent meeting of the Governing Council on 7 March 2019, the ECB decided to maintain an extremely expansionary degree of monetary accommodation in future. It now announced to keep target rates at their present extraordinarily low levels at least through year-end 2019 – instead of just "through the summer", as previously pledged. Furthermore, it reiterated that it intends to maintain the huge size of EMU sovereign bond holdings purchased between March 2015 and the end of December 2018 for an incalculable period of time. As a consequence, principal payments from maturing securities bought under the APP (asset purchase programme), including sovereign bonds from the PSPP portfolio (public sector purchase programme) have to be reinvested in full. This ought to support demand for EMU bonds for some time to come, putting downward pressure on yields. [more]
March 5, 2019
Region:
12
Saving money is near and dear to Germans. Remarkably, Germans increase their saving rate in the second half of retirement. Those aged 75 and older save for a potential emergency situation and in order to bequeath and thereby improve their heirs’ living conditions. High intergenerational transfers might affect wealth distribution in a society in the long run. In 2018, banks in Germany benefited from record volumes of new retail loans (EUR 48.9 bn) and net flows into household deposits (EUR 108.7 bn). Mortgages accounted for the lion’s share of new loans. Consumer lending was above average in 2018, but lost momentum in the last quarter. [more]
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