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European banks: Shrink to (pro)fit

March 19, 2018
Region:
The major European banks have seen their revenues stabilise in 2017, and through further cost-cutting and improvements in asset quality, their profitability rebounded strongly to the second-best figure in the past decade. However, banks continued to shrink, and both total assets and risk-weighted assets fell substantially. This helped capital and leverage ratios to reach new record highs, finally laying questions about the sector’s capitalisation levels to rest, at least on aggregate. Large European banks lost ground versus smaller competitors and also remained far behind their US peers, although they were able to catch up somewhat on this front. [more]

More documents about "Banking and financial markets"

151 (11-22)
January 15, 2019
Region:
11
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]
December 20, 2018
Region:
12
Germans are known as heavy cash users. In 2017, they paid cash for most of their purchase transactions. If they do not use cash, they prefer to pay by direct debit or card. Credit transfers and e-money payments are used less often. Germans initiated almost one fifth of cashless payments via the internet. Mobile payments were rarely used but this will likely change given a number of new mobile payment services came on the market in 2018. In Q3, German households took out an impressive EUR 16 bn in net new loans, the highest quarterly figure since the introduction of the euro. Of this, EUR 13 bn came from mortgages, while consumer lending lost some pace. Deposit inflows were buoyant for a Q3 and German households increased their savings rate to 10.7%. [more]
October 23, 2018
Region:
14
The European banking industry remains in restructuring mode. Most institutions are focused on increasing profitability and returns to shareholders. In contrast to previous periods of rising net income, the key this time is exiting less attractive parts of their business rather than expanding across the board. Hence, most P&L and balance sheet components have declined year-over-year, with one major exception: profits. Capital levels have suffered from new, more conservative accounting rules on loan loss provisions. [more]
October 19, 2018
Region:
15
German households hold a higher share of their savings in bank deposits than their French or British peers. But their portfolios are more diversified than perception suggests if all low-risk/low-return investments are taken into account. They invest meaningfully in stock markets, both directly and indirectly. The recent upward trend though may be driven by the low interest rate environment. In Q2, household lending in Germany continued to grow dynamically at 3.8% yoy, driven solely by mortgage loans. However, mortgage growth has not increased much recently despite the benign economic situation and booming real estate markets. Consumer loans declined for the first time in five years. Meanwhile, deposits saw exceptionally large inflows, with maturities shortening further. [more]
July 25, 2018
Region:
16
The number of FinTech start-ups in Germany has surged in recent years. They are mostly active in crowd funding and payments. Online payment schemes offered by FinTechs or BigTechs have already become the most popular way to pay for internet purchases. Meanwhile, the biggest focus of blockchain start-ups in Germany is on financial services. Many FinTechs cooperate with banks which like them for their innovative solutions. [more]
July 2, 2018
Region:
18
The UK’s exit from the EU will have significant repercussions for the financial industry, notably investment banking. London as the primary European hub is likely to lose its full access to the single market. Currently, financial services exports play a major role for Britain and almost half of them go to the EU. Without the surplus it generates from providing investment banking services to EU customers, Britain’s current account deficit would be 40% higher. Following Brexit and the likely loss of the single European passport, non-EU banks will have to set up or build-out subsidiaries in the EU-27 with own capital, liquidity, corporate governance and fully-fledged operations. This could lead to an additional EUR 35-45 bn of capital being ‘ring-fenced’. This represents a further leg of banking balkanisation with trapped capital, liquidity and resources – profitability will be under pressure and not all EU business models will be viable. [more]
June 28, 2018
Region:
Analyst:
19
With the new Payment Services Directive ("PSD 2") of the EU, which entered into force on 13 January 2018, payment services in Europe have become the frontrunner of "open banking". Account holders can request, free of charge, that banks transmit their financial data in digital form to third parties. Furthermore, they can authorise third-party providers to initiate payments from their bank account. Personal data are owned by the data subject – this principle also forms the basis of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Under the latter, however, there is no obligation to provide a technical solution through which customers can transmit their personal data to third-party providers in a convenient manner. In contrast to the PSD 2, the GDPR is therefore unlikely to stimulate innovation and competition in payments. In the financial sector, competition will thus be distorted. Banks must grant competitors access to customer data and their payment infrastructure, whereas internet platforms, for instance, de facto retain sovereignty over the personal data of their customers as well as access to their platforms. [more]
May 14, 2018
20
Developments in artificial intelligence and robotics have far-reaching economic and sociopolitical consequences, with some of them already materialising today. Still, the implications of further progress in these fields are not well understood. Economies around the world are likely to be impacted differently by the diffusion of AI technologies and robotics as wealthy industrial countries might increasingly “re-shore” production. To forge ahead and maximise the benefits for economies and societies, a balance needs to be found globally between successfully promoting key technologies and industries and avoiding the risk of rising protectionism and "knowledge wars". As the pace of technological change and the related launch of new business models are unlikely to slow, the ability of the state and regulators to keep pace is challenged. [more]
February 15, 2018
Analyst:
22
The rise of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and the decline in cash payments are the background for a new concept: digital cash issued by central banks. An old academic debate about who creates money and how is resurfacing, but what about the user’s perspective? Why would we use crypto euros? Such digital cash would compete against bank deposits, physical cash and private cryptocurrencies to win over consumers in the areas of payments and savings. [more]
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