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European bank profits rise to post-crisis peak despite lower revenues in 2018 - capital ratios down for the first time

February 28, 2019
In 2018, net income at the major European banks climbed to its highest level since the financial crisis. Lower administrative expenses and a further fall in loan loss provisions to multi-year lows more than made up for a decline in revenues. Whereas net interest income stabilised, fee and commission income as well as trading income declined. Banks took a bit more risk, and risk-weighted assets edged up. Total capital remained flat despite higher profits as banks increased returns to shareholders and implemented the new IFRS 9 accounting standard. Consequently, capital ratios declined for the first time since 2008. The gap between European banks and their US peers remained huge as the latter benefited from higher interest rates and lower corporate taxes. [more]

More documents about "Banking and financial markets"

155 (109-120)
September 26, 2013
Five years after the global financial crisis hit both the US and Europe, banks across the Atlantic are in very different shapes. US banks have returned to record profit levels, while their European peers are struggling to stay above the zero line at all. The differences are mainly driven by diverging trends in revenues, corporate lending growth and loan loss provisions all of which have developed much more favourably in America than in Europe. This may have been caused largely by three underlying factors: i) the better macroeconomic performance of the US, ii) European banks' less aggressive dealing with problematic legacy assets and their greater need to deleverage and shrink, and iii) differences in the institutional setup - in Europe at times triggering doubts over the very survival of the Monetary Union, in the US allowing the Fed to massively intervene in financial markets. As the US economic recovery gains strength and Europe emerges from the debt crisis and recession, banks face improvements on an operating level, with EU financial institutions likely to narrow but not close the gap to their US competitors. [more]
September 25, 2013
The economic and financial crisis in Europe has led to a dwindling of the options for funding infrastructure projects. While funding conditions have deteriorated, a huge amount of investment needs to be made in infrastructure. The Project Bond Initiative (PBI) developed by the European Commission and the EIB is an instrument that is intended to help free up the investment logjam. The primary objective of the PBI is to persuade private-sector institutional investors to fund infrastructure projects. [more]
September 12, 2013
In the current debate and the numerous initiatives surrounding the improvement of tax collection and cooperation on cross-border (investment) income it is vital to differentiate between two phenomena: one is the fight against (illegal) tax evasion (mainly on investment income) and the other is the legal, (often) so-called 'aggressive' tax planning via profit shifting. Efforts to establish the automatic exchange of information for tax purposes as the European and/or international standard are relatively advanced. 'Aggressive' tax planning, which enables the de facto tax exemption of profits, cannot be addressed by extending the scope of the exchange of information alone, however. [more]
September 4, 2013
The idea of Banking Union has a sound economic rationale and would, if it were implemented in a consistent fashion, substantially strengthen financial stability in Europe and in the euro area in particular. However, the design and implementation of the EU Banking Union and its constituent components suffer from two very fundamental contradictions. On the one hand, there is schizophrenic attitude of member states with regard to the necessary degree of supra-nationality to preserve a financially stable internal market for financial services. And on the other, there are the contrasting expectations and motives of member states with regard to Banking Union. Member states and other European law makers still have the chance to put Banking Union on a sound footing. The chance should not be wasted. [more]
September 3, 2013
We have lifted our forecast for 2013 GDP growth in Germany from 0.1% to 0.5%. This is not based on a more bullish assessment of H2's growth dynamics, though. Our call results instead from the growth surge due to one-off effects in Q2 (0.7% yoy) and from revisions to the 2012 performance as these produced a smaller statistical underhang and thus lead to a higher annual average for 2013. [more]
August 19, 2013
The prospects for an ambitious partnership agreement between the EU and the US are better than ever. An agreement would increase growth and employment in both regions. The greatest economic opportunities lie in improved cooperation in the regulation of markets for goods and services. Governments, parliaments and most interest groups on both sides are in a positive mood; the resistance to an agreement has thus far been limited to criticism of some details. The greatest political difficulties are likely to arise in the areas of agriculture and data protection. [more]
August 7, 2013
Derivatives markets form a major part of the regulatory reform agenda. While corner-stones of the reforms have been defined, some crucial issues such as the exact definition of standardised derivative contracts, the treatment of cross-border trades and CCP access to central bank liquidity are yet to be clarified. The decrease in volumes in derivatives markets can largely be explained by trade compression. Even though there is a notable shift from dealer to CCP trades for interest rate derivatives and a less remarkable shift for the credit derivatives, the actual capacity of the clearing market is much higher. Regulatory pressure to encourage standardisation seems to have created little impetus for greater standardisation to date and the use of exchange platforms seems to remain subdued. Even though collateral practices would become more expensive for all market participants, non-financial corporations as counterparties are more likely to be affected by collateralisation obligations in the future. A few CCPs dominate the market suggesting concentration issues. [more]
July 31, 2013
In this issue we look at two structural aspects of the German economy which provide speed limiters for GDP growth. The first is the interplay of foreign and domestic demand with implications for the current cyclical forecast. The second is the demographic implications for German labour supply which will be the biggest bottleneck for the economy’s long term growth potential. [more]
July 15, 2013
The announcement of Fed tapering has boosted financial market volatility and high-yield spreads. This is an important development for private equity because debt markets are a major driver. However, historical patterns suggest that this spike may be a temporary phenomenon during which markets are weaned off the liquidity glut. [more]
June 11, 2013
Since the height of the financial crisis at the end of 2008, the use of different debt finance instruments by companies in the euro area has been diverging remarkably: whereas the outstanding volume of traditional bank loans has fallen by about EUR 360 bn on aggregate (-7.4%), net issuance of corporate bonds (i.e. long-term debt securities) has amounted to almost exactly the same cumulative (but positive) figure over the same period of time (a rise by 63%). [more]
June 10, 2013
This study reviews how Japanese banks have responded to the adverse macroeconomic environment during the past ten to twenty years. The experience of Japanese banks provides some valuable insights into the effect of a prolonged phase of low interest rates on bank balance sheets and profitability. Banks have adapted both the cost and income drivers of their business. Profitability and efficiency gains have been limited though. While Japanese banks have reduced their bad loan problem, they have also become increasingly exposed to their home sovereign. [more]
June 4, 2013
Before the global financial and economic crisis erupted central bankers were considered if not the masters of the universe at least the masters of the world of finance. However, serious problems have emerged with regard to both the theoretical underpinnings of monetary policy as well as to its implementation. As the roles of the financial sector and asset bubbles had been neglected, the problems contributed to the development of the global financial crisis. <p> [more]