Mergers and acquisitions are often a good solution for ailing banks and have been tossed around more frequently lately as the answer for Europe’s financial institutions, many of which are struggling with internal issues along with external factors such as anemic growth and low interest rates. While consolidation brings many benefits, it may not be the best remedy for European banks right now, especially when it involves substantial cross-border deals.
“The times they are a-Changin’” sung Bob Dylan in the 1960’s as the civil rights movement swept through the US and changed the direction of a Nation forever.Fast forward to 2019 and this anthem of change rings true for the banking sector. Whether it be emerging FinTech start-ups, regulatory bodies or the changing demands of their customers, it’s an industry that is being disrupted from all sides.
On April 5, Lars Idermark resigned from his position as the chairman of Swedbank, headquartered in Sweden. Idermark stepped down from his position only a week after the chief executive officer, and previously the supervisor of Swedbank operations in the Baltic states, Birgitte Bonnesen, was fired.
The implementation of the Brexit separation of Britain’s financial system from that of the European Union remains more loaded with questions than answers. Bankers are hoping for a gentle divorce, while the government of Britain is indicating a harder stance—guaranteeing a process that will be costly in more ways than one.
Much has been made of Europe’s struggling banking sector since the turn of the decade. In October, for instance, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that across the world, banks that were in charge of approximately $12 trillion of assets will continue to remain vulnerable, even if a global economic recovery takes hold.
Earlier this year, the European Central Bank (ECB) decided to cut its deposit rate to -0.4 percent and its benchmark refinancing rate to zero.