Some puzzles are fun, while others are not. The sovereign-bank diabolic loop puzzle is definitely not fun for the European governments and banks victimized by it. Trapped in the loop, banks hurt sovereigns, while sovereigns return the favor by hurting banks. Is there a way to break free of this deadly embrace? New research shines a light on a possible channel to freedom that strangely enough originates in the US.
Europe’s banks deserve a lot of credit for weathering less than ideal conditions, such as ultra-low interest rates and profitability in conjunction with high levels of fintech competition and toxic debt. But while conditions haven’t improved much lately on the interest-rate side, the bad-debt situation is considerably brighter. Astute regulators and governments deserve much of the credit, but so do the banks themselves for revamping their management of nonperforming loans.
Technology has brought us all closer together but at times, makes it more difficult to know exactly with whom we are dealing. Accurate customer identity verification is crucial for financial services, especially when the potential for criminal activities such as money laundering is factored in. Regulators are joining in the challenge by specifying how customers’ identities should be verified online, with the new 5AMLD in Europe lending guidance to banks.
Few have not embraced the Green Agenda, as we all see the potential for renewable energy to transform the fabric of our lives and to hinder potentially devastating climate change. But wanting to do and doing can be two different things, with the availability of financing often being the deciding factor. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development fills the financing gap, with a focus on worthy private-sector green projects.
There were many victims of 2008’s Great Recession, but perhaps none were as hard-pressed as those in emerging markets, who were effectively cut off by the suddenly risk-averse big banks of developed countries. Access to finance through traditional avenues is still hit and miss for those in developing countries, but things are looking up with the advent of technological solutions that are bridging the gap to a more promising future.
The European Union has put up a brave front against financial crimes such as money laundering, but the criminals still manage to get away with a way too much ill-gotten gain. Progress is being made with the new AMLD5 framework, but much more needs to be done to achieve resounding success. What are some of the steps the EU should take to finally grab this brazen bull by its horns?
New players driving fresh business models, innovative products and increased adoption of the power of big data affect not only the provision of financial services but the fundamental structures of financial markets. As the tectonic plates shift, banks need to actively seek and embrace new opportunities. For the data economy to thrive, fintechs and bigtechs to provide client choice without affecting financial stability, and for crypto-assets to provide a viable option to traditional assets, regulators must master the art of balancing innovation with regulation.
The push to transition from fossil fuels to renewables for power generation has been motivated largely by environmental concerns. But today, dollars and cents are increasingly supporting the transformation drive, as renewable-energy sources become much more cost-effective, even outmatching fossil fuels in value per dollar. Forecasts predict that new power generation through renewables—especially solar, wind, hydroelectric—will soon outstrip fossil fuels, attracting growing interest from governments, banks and investors.
5G digital cellular network technology is one step up from 4G and LTE, so what’s the big deal? A lot, apparently, as 5G promises to deliver speeds 200 times greater than LTE. For the investor, when considering any potentially ground-breaking technology, the question remains, “When to jump in?” The answer may depend on whether he/she seeks short- or long-term gains. As a long-term bet, anyway, 5G looks like a shoo-in.
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.