COVID-19 has brought the centrality of the banking industry within the financial sector into sharper focus. Banks’ roles in shepherding their economies through the troubling times of the pandemic and beyond are indisputable; how well they fulfil their mandates will determine the success of the broader recovery in Europe and elsewhere. The road won’t be easy, and the banking sector needs to redefine and restructure itself to meet these challenges. Bank boards will have to take a more prominent role in this process.
As the months roll on, the full effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have become clearer across the globe. Without a doubt, among the hardest hit regions has been Latin America. But despite the difficult health situation, banking systems have, so far, responded well to the socio-economic impacts of the crisis.
Cyber-hackers are using increasingly sophisticated and complex malicious software that can make early detection of fraudulent activity difficult. To protect themselves, financial institutions need not only technological excellence but also effective training mechanisms to promote vigilance among their workforce. While cybersecurity software is extremely useful, cyber-protection must begin at home, with knowledgeable staff who are equipped to recognise and thwart cyber-breaches. This can be accomplished only with constructive staff cyber-training.
Problems have continued to mount for the German banking sector in 2019. According to Ronit Ghose, the global head of banks research at Citibank, German lenders are in a much worse position than their European counterparts—and that even includes Italy when it comes to profitability.
Given the prevailing financial infrastructure that exists today, international transfers continue to remain costly, time-consuming and risky—and even more so when there is a need to exchange currency. Such transactions normally undergo a series of stages that invariably include the involvement of intermediary parties and the foreign-exchange market
Since trade finance is lifeblood of global business, it has a positive role to play in driving sustainable practices. Here, banks can lead by example: through collaborative efforts, they can play a crucial role in encouraging a diverse network of counterparties to safeguard environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles, while also stimulating growth. So, how can “sustainable trade” be fully realized to meet these ends?
Chinese president Xi Jinping calls it the “project of the century”. Part of his roadmap to Chinese prosperity, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), presents opportunities not only for Corporate China but for financial institutions and corporates the world over.
Brazil’s economy is emerging from a difficult few years—but when analysing its prospects, a positive, long-term view is warranted, based on the country’s important position in world trade. With a little help from its friends and its own internal enterprise, this major South American economy, the world’s ninth largest by nominal GDP, has every reason to expect a triumphant comeback.
Paying a fee to deposit money in a bank savings account is a concept most people cannot fathom, but German banks have begun to charge wealthier retail customers. Bank managers claim this is a result of the ECB’s negative interest rates, which penalize them for holding funds with the ECB.
Chile, one of Latin America’s most resilient economies, has not been shielded from recent global headwinds, such as low commodity prices and slow growth of key trading partners. Even so, the country is well equipped to exploit the opportunities of economic diversification, banking partnership and international trade.