Economies dependent on oil exports have been devastated by the sharp drop in oil prices, including Africa’s second-largest oil exporter, Angola. Despite the gloom, Banco Angolano de Investimentos, the country’s largest private bank, has swum against the down currents of its banking peers by delivering net income growth and successfully exploiting numerous rewarding market opportunities.
Financial managers need to know what to expect, but in the UK with the inevitability of Brexit there are as many or more unknowns as there are knowns, especially in relation to trade and trade finance. To reduce risks, policymakers who negotiate the terms of the Article 50 process should consider from the start how their decisions will affect trade and its finance.
Many bank managers are grateful that they do not live and work in war-torn countries; but guess what, hardline terrorists are bringing the battle close to home. Within the current world climate, banks, small and large, have a responsibility to participate in the war against domestic terrorism by implementing vigorous anti-money-laundering/counter-terrorist-financing programs.
Controversy involving a country’s top politicians often trickles down to its vulnerable financial sector; South African banks have joined the list of victims of decisions made by their political leadership that have caused credit ratings to plunge and economic prospects to tumble, posing a challenge to the healthy internal conditions of most banks. Will a bank crisis accompany the political one?
Mauritania, a West African primarily Islamic country, has been served by BMCI, a bank with strong international connections that has grown alongside its determination to allow its customers’ needs to dictate its direction, for just over 40 years. BMCI has become the preferred financial partner of thousands of Mauritanians, propelling it to the top of its industry.
Regulators are tasked with the responsibility of protecting financial assets, a challenge that is becoming more complicated as the ICT/fintech revolution transforms the financial sector and introduces new dynamics. Meanwhile, banks must entrepreneurially reinvent themselves in order to stay competitive in their own ballgame, a goal that is achievable as long as regulators are made to feel comfortable through sufficient capitalization in the industry. And regulators should not be swamped in details but need a helicopter view, and this questions current regulatory practice.
Gulf Bank has served customers in Kuwait, which is as rich in cultural heritage as it is in natural resources, for nearly 60 years. During that time, it has evolved with changing demands, and Laila Al-Qatami, head of corporate communications, explains how the bank is still progressively transforming its business model to adapt to rising challenges such as technological innovation and gender parity.
In mid-April, a draft of the legislation to repeal the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act—a law that has been branded by US President Donald Trump as a “disaster” that has made it difficult for businesses to get loans—was released.
On April 1, 2017, India’s largest bank, the State Bank of India (SBI), expanded its size even further after completing its long-awaited merger with Bharatiya Mahila Bank and five of its commercial banking subsidiaries: State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore.
Central banks saw their reputations peak when they were perceived as saviors of the world after the financial-market crisis. As a consequence, expectations for their power to manage economies became exaggerated, while at the same time, they were overburdened with new responsibilities—especially true for the ECB. But support for the independence of central banks is on a declining trend.