The role of the central bank in maintaining the stability of a nation’s financial system is paramount at all times, but especially during a crisis of the magnitude of COVID-19. Around the world, policymakers have intentionally shut down their economies for the greater good of public health. What specific emergency measures have the world’s top central banks taken to confront this truly unique peril to both physical and financial well-being?
“For the first time since the pandemic began, there is now hope for a brighter future.” That was the assessment given by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on December 1 following the news of progress being made with coronavirus vaccines.
2020 has proved to be an eventful year for ISO 20022, with SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) and other major market infrastructures opting to postpone the implementation of the new standard. Any assumptions that these delays will provide participants with a respite are unfounded; testing times still lie ahead, and internal project work should reflect this.
Belgium’s bank-insurer KBC Group has learned through experience that thinking differently and aiming for the next level is the surest way to meet its goals of enabling customers as they realize their dreams and protecting them as they progress. In our interview, CEO Johan Thijs explains how KBC is leading through one of the most challenging times the financial and insurance industries have experienced, with its focus trained on customers.
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.
It is fair to say that the banking sector in Latvia is now being closely scrutinised in a manner that it has not experienced in recent times. The latter half of February in particular witnessed a series of major incidents being reported that have severely dented confidence in the diminutive Baltic nation’s banking industry.
The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (MiFID II)—a major package of financial reforms for European markets—is due to be introduced at the start of 2018. The new rules are aimed at providing considerably more protection for investors
Catalonia’s drive for independence from Spain is nothing new, but it crystallized in the Catalan parliament’s recent vote for independence. On the surface, it may appear that this relatively prosperous northeastern region would be better off if free from its mother country, but the long-term repercussions may not be rosy; the most likely outcome is that the political row will settle on middle-ground.
Italy’s banking sector, mired in bad debt and low profitability, has been labelled Europe’s weakest, but fortunately it is making progress in addressing long-standing issues—with a little help from the government. Recent bank bailouts have given renewed hope to struggling lenders, while raising concerns that the arrangements conflict with Europe-wide rules prohibiting the use of taxpayer funds to bail out failing banks.
The US dollar is the world’s reserve currency, the representation of US economic might on the global stage and the de facto currency unit for the overwhelming majority of financial assets.