EU Commission launches public consultation on the Mortgage Credit Directive review

EU Commission launches public consultation on the Mortgage Credit Directive review

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the Mortgage Credit Directive review. The Commission is seeking views on the functioning of and possible improvements to the existing framework. The review aims to assess whether current rules are adapted to new challenges, in particular digitalisation, the need to enhance sustainability, and the COVID-19 crisis. It also seeks to ensure that existing rules continue to guarantee a high level of consumer protection, further the aims of the single market, and contribute to financial stability. Mairead McGuinness, Commissioner for Financial Services, Financial Stability and Capital Markets Union, said: “Taking out a mortgage…
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HSBC in final talks to sell France unit to Cerberus -source

HSBC in final talks to sell France unit to Cerberus -source

LONDON, March 17 (Reuters) - HSBC has entered into final negotiations to sell its France retail bank business to Cerberus, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. HSBC has said it is looking to dispose of the business and Reuters previously reported Cerberus was among two bidders remaining for the unit. A spokeswoman for HSBC declined to comment, while Cerberus could not immediately be reached. (Reporting by Lawrence White, editing by Louise Heavens)
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Euro zone banks curtail credit access amid fresh pandemic worries

Euro zone banks curtail credit access amid fresh pandemic worries

Euro zone banks are tightening access to corporate credit amid a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic, fresh data showed on Tuesday, adding to already numerous arguments for the European Central Bank to add to stimulus. With governments once again restricting economic activity, banks are growing worried about rising credit risk, potential damage to economic growth as emergency credit lines are keeping a range of companies afloat, particularly in services. Banks had already curtailed access to corporate credit in the third quarter and expected to tighten further in the last three months of the year, reflecting concerns about the stalling recovery…
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HSBC plc to accelerate plans to shrink in size and slash costs further

HSBC plc to accelerate plans to shrink in size and slash costs further

HSBC Holdings PLC signalled it would embark on a transformation of its business model, seeking to flip its main source of income from interest rates to fee-based businesses. It also accelerated plans to shrink in size and will slash costs further than previously suggested. The plans were unveiled as the bank posted a less-than-expected 35% drop in quarterly profit and flagged an easing in its provisions for bad loans, citing an expected improvement in the economic outlook for its main markets. The change in approach marks one of the biggest long-term shifts in strategy to date from Europe’s biggest bank,…
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HSBC accelerates 35,000 job cuts amid Covid-19 profit plunge

HSBC accelerates 35,000 job cuts amid Covid-19 profit plunge

HSBC is to accelerate plans to cut 35,000 jobs globally after the Covid-19 crisis forced the bank to put aside another $3.8bn (£2.9bn) to cover bad debts. The London-headquartered bank announced on Monday that pretax profits plunged more than 80% to $1.1bn (£842m) in the second quarter, down from $6.2bn (£4.7bn) during the same period last year. That is far worse than the $2.5bn that analysts had expected. The bank, which makes most of its profits in China and Hong Kong, reported a $3.8bn loan loss charge, up from the $555m it put aside for bad debts last year. Analysts…
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Santander to appoint HSBC’s Simoes as regional head of Europe

Santander to appoint HSBC’s Simoes as regional head of Europe

Spain's Santander announced the appointment of Antonio Simoes, head of global private banking at HSBC, as its regional chief for Europe at a time when the euro zone's No. 2 lender by market value is focused on cost cuts in the region. "Antonio will join the bank on Sept. 1, subject to regulatory approval, and will have managerial responsibility and oversight of the bank's businesses in Europe with reporting lines from the country heads of Spain, Britain, Portugal and Poland," Santander said in a statement. Simoes, who is Portuguese, will become a member of the Group management committee and report to…
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Central Bank with new directives on cheques, cash withdrawals

Central Bank with new directives on cheques, cash withdrawals

Following the advice of national health authorities for persons to remain indoors as much as possible, the Central Bank of Malta has today issued a Directive on important measures concerning cheques which will primarily enable persons to avoid visiting bank branches and other financial service providers, by depositing them through trusted third parties. The measures were introduced after consultation with the commercial banks as a temporary measure during the current pandemic restrictions and will come into force on 26 March 2020. "Only" cheques can be delivered by trusted third parties The most important change affects the use of cheques which…
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Big banks brace for the coronavirus

Big banks brace for the coronavirus

  Many of the City of London's biggest institutions are taking steps to combat the spread of the coronavirus. On Monday many of JPMorgan's UK-based staff are being temporarily moved to a different office. They're not alone. Goldman Sachs last week sent around 200 members of staff to test a site in Croydon, South London for the day to ensure the systems worked effectively. Many of these measures by some of the world's biggest banks follow the events that took place at HSBC last week. HSBC sent home more than 100 staff from the tenth floor of its Canary Wharf…
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Founder of India’s fifth-biggest private sector bank arrested

Founder of India’s fifth-biggest private sector bank arrested

The founder of Yes Bank, Rana Kapoor, was arrested on Sunday on allegations of money laundering, after being questioned for over 20 hours by Indian authorities. "He has been arrested as he was not cooperating in the probe," an official of Enforcement Directorate, India's financial crime investigating agency, told AFP news agency. The Reserve Bank of India, the country's central bank, seized control of Yes Bank on Thursday and capped withdrawals at 50,000 rupees ($695, €615) a month per depositor. The move came amid the troubled bank's deteriorating financial health following defaults by firms to whom it had loaned huge sums.…
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Intesa Sanpaolo bid to take over rival UBI Banca

Intesa Sanpaolo bid to take over rival UBI Banca

Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo has launched a bid to take over its rival, UBI Banca for 4.9 billion Euros. Italian Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri said Wednesday Intesa Sanpaolo's planned takeover of UBI Banca would spell an "important consolidation" of the Italian banking sector. Intesa, based in Turin, unveiled an all-share offer to buy Italy’s fourth-biggest lender through notices detailing its plans to issue new shares to fund the deal. If successful, the combination would create the seventh-largest bank in the eurozone with €1.1tn in assets. It would also give Intesa an additional 3m retail, small business and private-banking clients, the…
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Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to change its name

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to change its name

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) says it is to change its name to NatWest Group later this year as it commits to a new future following the taxpayer bailout of 2008. While announcing the bank's annual results for 2019, which included a surge in profits, new chief executive Alison Rose set out a series of new priorities for the lender including incentive-linked targets covering climate and support for ethnic minority entrepreneurs. RBS, which remains 62%-owned by the government, said there would be no impact on jobs through the rebranding of the Edinburgh-based group, which will be widely seen as an…
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Italian banks closing Iranian citizens’ accounts over US sanctions

Italian banks closing Iranian citizens’ accounts over US sanctions

Several Italian banks have closed or imposed restrictions on accounts held by Iranian citizens citing US sanctions against Iran and putting some people in a delicate financial situation. Several European banks have been slapped by hefty US fines for allegedly flouting sanctions. Dutch Bank ING paid $619 million (€568 million) in fines in 2012 after being accused of violating US sanctions against Cuba and Iran. France's BNP Paribas was found guilty of violations sanctions against Iran, Sudan and Cuba in 2014 by US authorities, who slapped them with a €6.5 billion penalty. According to reliable Euronews sources, the Italian branch…
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German digital bank N26 pulls out of UK, blames Brexit

German digital bank N26 pulls out of UK, blames Brexit

The German digital bank N26 is has blamed Brexit for its decision to pull out of the UK and close more than 200,000 customer accounts. The lender has given customers less than two months to move their money, with all UK accounts to be closed by 15 April. It has also stopped offering new accounts to UK residents. The bank – which has 5 million customers in the EU – was relying on passporting rights that allowed it to use its German licence to operate in the UK. It originally planned to take advantage of the British regulator’s temporary permissions…
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Visa backs payments start-up that powers popular fintech apps like Monzo and Revolut

Visa backs payments start-up that powers popular fintech apps like Monzo and Revolut

Financial technology start-up Currencycloud, which powers cross-border payments for a number of popular finance apps, has raised $80 million in a funding round backed by Visa. Based in the U.K., Currencycloud sells payment software for banks and fintech firms to process their international transactions. Though not as well-known as consumer-focused peers like Monzo and Revolut, the company provides some of the crucial “plumbing” in the background for such apps to operate. The firm’s latest series of funding was co-led by SAP’s venture arm Sapphire and Visa, and also attracted backing from Google, the investment arm of the World Bank, French…
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Lloyds Banking Group and Microsoft form partnership to accelerate bank’s digital transformation strategy

Lloyds Banking Group and Microsoft form partnership to accelerate bank’s digital transformation strategy

Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) has announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft focused on accelerating LBG’s digital transformation. As part of the LBG’s commitment to invest £3 billion in technology, the new service will provide a modern digital workplace for all Lloyds Banking Group employees. The new partnership includes the development of Microsoft Managed Desktop, offering productivity tools within Office 365, the robust security capability of Windows 10 and an advanced device solution to support evergreen currency management. LBG has worked with Microsoft since 2017 to build, test and evaluate the scale, security and agility requirements for Microsoft Managed Desktop. The…
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Financial institution failed to raise alarm over huge write-down of frozen Libyan assets

Financial institution failed to raise alarm over huge write-down of frozen Libyan assets

Abu Dhabi’s The National reports that a financial institution responsible for a huge write-down in the value of Libyan frozen assets held in the UK remains under investigation after it failed to raise the alarm over a multi-million-pound accounting error, the UK government has revealed. Officials have refused to identify the institution they have been investigating for at least three months after being forced to revise the amount held by UK companies downwards by up to £840 million to £11.2 billion. The unidentified bank sent in the wrong figures for a 2017/18 government report and failed to report the discrepancy…
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Britain’s biggest high street banks affected by cyber-attack

Britain’s biggest high street banks affected by cyber-attack

  Britain's biggest high street banks have been left unable to process foreign currency orders following the cyber-attack on Travelex, which provides services for them. Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays and HSBC are among more than a dozen major banks having problems after the New Year's Eve ransomware attack. While customers are still being offered services in branches for buying euros, dollars, and other foreign cash, banks are saying that orders cannot be processed online. Travelex was forced to take all its global websites offline after an attack by the Sodinobiki gang, who are reportedly demanding a…
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HSBC kicks off year with Hong Kong branches closed, vandalized

HSBC kicks off year with Hong Kong branches closed, vandalized

HSBC is being drawn into Hong Kong’s political turmoil with protesters attacking some of its branches and graffiti daubed on the famous pair of lions that guard its city-center headquarters. Two HSBC branches and seven indoor ATM clusters were closed on Thursday, the first working day of the year. Some had their windows smashed and “support Spark Alliance” was spray painted on their walls during a New Year’s Day anti-government protest march. Others were damaged during protests on Christmas Eve. The two lions were daubed with graffiti and briefly set alight after being doused in a flammable liquid. Hong Kong…
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Money pumped into China’s economy in attempt to fight slowdown

Money pumped into China’s economy in attempt to fight slowdown

China’s central bank has acted to pump more liquidity into the country’s economy in an attempt to prevent growth slowing in 2020. The People’s Bank of China is allowing commercial banks to hold less capital in reserve, freeing up about 800bn yuan (£87bn) in new funds for loans. It will cut China’s banks’ reserve requirement ratio (RRR) by 50 basis points, to 12.5%, from 6 January. The move means lenders can lend more of their savers’ funds to borrowers to support the economy, rather than keeping it on hand. The RRR was cut three times during 2019 as Beijing tried…
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Next Bank of England governor looks to ease rules after Brexit

Next Bank of England governor looks to ease rules after Brexit

Andrew Bailey, named on Friday as the next governor of the Bank of England, has signaled a readiness to diverge from EU regulations after Brexit. Bailey will be one of the most influential policymakers in the country when he takes office next March 16 for a period of eight years — exceeding the mandate of elected politicians. He replaces Mark Carney, who governed since 2013 and won praise for putting climate change on the agenda for finance. Bailey has said he would start a “thorough debate” around how closely the U.K. should stick to current EU rules. At the same…
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BCR sells historic palace in downtown Bucharest

BCR sells historic palace in downtown Bucharest

Romanian lender BCR announced that it completed the sale of the historic Oscar Maugsch Palace in Bucharest’s Universitatii Square to an investment vehicle registered in Luxembourg, Project Regina Elisabeta Bucharest. Located on Regina Elisabeta Boulevard, the Oscar Maugsch Palace is adjacent to one of the most famous squares in Bucharest, also known as Romania’s kilometre zero, an area with a remarkable potential for urban redevelopment. The building will most likely be transformed into a luxury hotel. The building was developed at the beginning of the 20th century and has a total area of almost 17,000 sqm. It served as BCR’s…
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HSBC Swiss unit to pay $192 million in US tax fine

HSBC Swiss unit to pay $192 million in US tax fine

The Swiss branch of HSBC's private bank has been fined almost CHF200 million by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) for having helped American clients evade tax between 2000 and 2010. HSBC’s Swiss private banking unit confirmed the $192.35 million (CHF189.6 million) fine handed down by a district court in Florida on Tuesday. The bank admitted to holding $1.26 billion in undeclared assets for wealthy American clients over the period 2000-2010. To help them evade tax, it devised fraudulent strategies and presented false documents to US tax authorities. See full statement here The fines are part of a long-running series of legal actions…
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Switzerland grants 18 more countries access to bank details

Switzerland grants 18 more countries access to bank details

The Swiss parliament has approved the automatic exchange of bank data with 18 additional countries from 2021. However, Turkey failed to make the cut. On Tuesday, the Senate followed the House of Representative’s lead and approved a new batch of countries for automatic exchange of financial information (AEOI). This means Switzerland will provide details of bank accounts held by their citizens (or those with a fiscal residence in Switzerland). In return, Switzerland will receive information on banking details of accounts held by Swiss citizens/residents in these partner countries. The 18 countries are Albania, Azerbaijan, Brunei, Dominica, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Macau, Maldives, Nigeria, Niue, Oman,…
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HSBC to bring in single overdraft rate of 40% for UK customers

HSBC to bring in single overdraft rate of 40% for UK customers

HSBC is to bring in a single overdraft rate of 39.9% for UK customers from March 2020, as much as quadrupling the rate it charges some customers. However, the bank is removing a £5 daily fee for going into an unarranged overdraft and introducing an interest-free £25 buffer on some accounts. It follows a similar move from Nationwide Building Society in July. It comes in response to tough new borrowing rules from regulators designed to protect consumers. But one analyst warned that steep overdraft rates could now become the "new normal". HSBC UK currently charges rates of 9.9% to 19.9%…
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Italy’s UniCredit to axe 8,000 jobs

Italy’s UniCredit to axe 8,000 jobs

Italian bank UniCredit said Tuesday that it set to axe around 8,000 jobs and close around 500 branches in the next few years. The job losses will be concentrated in Italy, Germany and Austria. "Cost savings will in part be achieved through further FTE reductions of around 8,000 over the plan period while the ongoing optimisation of the branch network will see additional closures of about 500 at a Group level between 2019 and 2023," the Italian bank said in a statement on its new industrial plan. Union sources said that 5,500-6,000 of the job losses and 450 of the…
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Commerzbank CEO calls on EU to stick to principles in face of U.S. policy

Commerzbank CEO calls on EU to stick to principles in face of U.S. policy

Commerzbank’s chief executive criticized the U.S. administration for unilateral dealmaking on Friday and called for Germany and Europe to “stick to our principles”. Martin Zielke’s comments come as Europe debates strengthening its banking and capital markets union, while the European Union is under strain from Britain’s planned exit. Zielke told prominent bankers at an annual conference in Frankfurt that the United States under President Donald Trump wanted to make deals, unilaterally if possible. “We should not be tempted by the false slogan of ‘Nation first’ solutions. On the contrary, we should do all that is possible to overcome the deep…
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HSBC set to replace investment banking chief

HSBC set to replace investment banking chief

  HSBC is planning to replace the long-serving head of its investment bank ahead of a big restructuring that will result in large-scale job losses at the unit he has led for almost a decade. Samir Assaf, head of global banking and markets, is expected to be moved to a non-executive role at the division as part of a series of changes to the group’s management team as interim chief executive Noel Quinn makes his mark on the bank, according to people briefed on the matter.   Via FT
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Danish prosecutor charges Danske Bank for overcharging customers

Danish prosecutor charges Danske Bank for overcharging customers

Danske Bank said on Thursday it has been preliminary charged by the Danish prosecutor for overcharging customers for an investment product. Denmark’s financial watchdog reported Danske Bank to the police in August. It said the bank had failed to inform customers that it expected a poor performance from its Flexinvest Fri investment product and for continuing to sell it to new customers after raising fees associated with it in 2017.   Via Reuters
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HSBC cut jobs in UAE as bank look to reduce costs

HSBC cut jobs in UAE as bank look to reduce costs

HSBC Holdings has laid off about 40 bankers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Emirates NBD is cutting around 100 jobs, as banks in the Arab world’s second-biggest economy reduce costs, sources familiar with the move told Reuters. The job cuts come at a time of weak economic growth, especially in the region’s business hub - Dubai - which is suffering from a property downturn. HSBC’s redundancies came after the London-based bank reported a sharp fall in earnings and warned of a costly restructuring, as interim Chief Executive Noel Quinn seeks to tackle its problems head-on in his bid…
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Jail terms for 13 bankers over Monte Paschi scandal

Jail terms for 13 bankers over Monte Paschi scandal

Thirteen former bankers from Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Nomura and Deutsche Bank were sentenced to jail on Friday after a case that shook Italy’s establishment and fomented the rise of populism in the country. The sentences — among the harshest handed out to bankers convicted of financial crimes in living memory — were delivered in Milan after the men were found guilty of helping Monte dei Paschi hide hundreds of millions of euros in losses between 2008 and 2012, using complex derivatives contracts. It seeks to bring to a close Italy’s biggest financial scandal, a tale of mismanagement and…
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Lebanese banks reopen for first time in two weeks

Lebanese banks reopen for first time in two weeks

Lebanese banks opened to customers on Friday for the first time in two weeks following an unprecedented wave of protests that led the prime minister to resign, with small numbers of customers queuing as the doors opened. According to Reuters, Lebanon’s banks will seek to prevent capital flight when they open on Friday but without imposing formal capital controls. Analysts and bankers have cited widespread concern about a rush by depositors to withdraw their savings or transfer them abroad when the banks reopen. The central bank has pledged not to impose capital controls when banks re-open, measures that could deter…
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UK will not appoint new BoE chief before December 12 election

UK will not appoint new BoE chief before December 12 election

Britain’s government will not name a successor to Bank of England Governor Mark Carney before a national election due on Dec. 12, a finance ministry official said. Earlier on Thursday, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the process for the appointment remained on track to be made this autumn. The BoE’s current governor, Mark Carney, is due to leave the central bank on Jan. 31, which is also the latest deadline for Britain to leave the European Union. By convention, British governments do not make major appointments in the run-up to elections. Via Reuters
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UniCredit says 3 million clients hit by data breach

UniCredit says 3 million clients hit by data breach

Italian banking giant UniCredit said Monday that around three million of its clients in Italy were affected by a data breach in 2015, while stressing that account details were not compromised. "The UniCredit cyber security team has identified a data incident involving a file generated in 2015 containing a defined set of approximately 3 million records limited to the Italian perimeter," the lender said in a statement. "The records consist of names, city, telephone number and email only. Consequently, no other personal data or any bank details permitting access to customer accounts or allowing for unauthorized transactions have been compromised.…
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HSBC restructuring plans fuel fears of job cuts

HSBC restructuring plans fuel fears of job cuts

HSBC is planning to restructure its business after the banking giant said its performance in parts of Europe and the US was "not acceptable". Interim chief executive Noel Quinn said plans to improve these divisions were "no longer sufficient" and that it was "accelerating plans to remodel them". Earlier this month, the bank, which employs 238,000 people, was reported to be planning up to 10,000 job cuts. On Monday, Quinn said there was "scope" for potential cuts, "There is scope throughout the bank to clarify and simplify roles, and to reduce duplication," he told Reuters. However, Quinn did not provide…
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Euro zone corporate lending growth plunges in Sept

Euro zone corporate lending growth plunges in Sept

Bank lending to euro zone companies plunged last month, suggesting that the bloc’s economic slowdown is finally slowing lending after a period of surprising resilience, data from the European Central Bank showed on Monday. Corporate loan growth slowed to 3.7% in September from 4.3% a month earlier, its slowest rate since January. Household lending growth meanwhile held steady at 3.4%. The annual growth rate of the M3 measure of money supply, which often serves as an indicator of future activity, slowed to 5.5% in September from 5.8% in August, underperforming expectations for 5.7%. Via Reuters
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HSBC warns of ‘challenging’ outlook as profit falls

HSBC warns of ‘challenging’ outlook as profit falls

HSBC saw an 18% drop in pre-tax profit during the third quarter, as the bank warned of challenges ahead. Europe's largest bank said profit before tax hit $4.8bn (£3.8bn) in the three months to September, missing analyst estimates for the period. In a statement, the bank said its outlook for revenue growth was "softer" than anticipated. HSBC has been navigating uncertainty arising from Brexit, the US-China trade war, ongoing unrest in Hong Kong. Via BBC/HSBC
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US charges Turkey’s Halkbank with violating Iran sanctions

US charges Turkey’s Halkbank with violating Iran sanctions

US prosecutors filed criminal charges against Turkey's state-run Halkbank for allegedly taking part in a multibillion-dollar scheme to evade sanctions on Iran. The indictment is the latest development in a years-long criminal case that began with the arrest of Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold trader accused of playing a key role in the sanctions evasion scheme. Zarrab pleaded guilty and testified at the trial of a Halkbank deputy general manager. He told authorities that Iran was getting around US sanctions through a complicated scheme involving gold transactions with the help of the bank and the Turkish government. The announcement means…
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Bank of England unveils new £20 note

Bank of England unveils new £20 note

The new 20-pound note was unveiled at the Turner Contemporary Museum in Margate, Britain. The 20-pound note is Britain's most common, and most forged. Security features on the next £20 note, featuring artist JMW Turner, will include two see-through windows on the note and a metallic hologram. The new design, which the bank describes as its most secure, enters circulation on 20 February next year. Features on the new £20 note include: A large see-through window with a blue and gold foil on the front depicting Margate lighthouse and Turner Contemporary. The foil is silver on the back. The shape…
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HSBC to close down seven branches in Malta

HSBC to close down seven branches in Malta

HSBC announced on Thursday it would be closing seven branches in Malta and combine another two into a new Qormi flagship it will be open. It also said it would be offering voluntary redundancy schemes. The branches that will close by the end of the year are at Birżebbuġa, Cospicua, Fgura, Ħamrun, Marsascala, St Julian’s and St Paul's Bay. Balzan branch will also close and be combined into a new 'flagship branch' in Qormi, the bank said in a statement. In an announcement on the Malta Stock Exchange, the bank said its plan was to increase its focus on digital…
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World’s largest banks lagging in sustainable finance

World’s largest banks lagging in sustainable finance

Despite pressure from activists, investors and governments, the majority of world’s 50 largest banks have not made sustainable finance commitments to respond to the risks of climate change and continue to finance fossil fuels, according to new findings by the World Resources Institute released on Thursday. Washington-based WRI unveiled its new Green Target Tool, which analyzes and compares the world’s 50 largest private banks’ public commitments to address climate and found that as of July, only 23 of the world’s 50 largest private banks made commitments to finance projects for sustainable energy. Among those 23 banks with commitments, the average…
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Dutch bank ABN Amro subject to money laundering investigation

Dutch bank ABN Amro subject to money laundering investigation

Dutch bank ABN Amro has been placed under investigation by Dutch prosecutors relating over suspected money laundering, it said today. Prosecutors said they believe that ABN Amro reported suspicious transactions too late or not at all over a lengthy period. They also said the bank failed to conduct proper investigation of client behaviour and did not sever ties with suspect clients in a timely fashion. They did not disclose over what period the alleged failures occurred.   Via Bloomberg/ Reuters
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New Zealand announces plans to regulate conduct of banks, insurers

New Zealand announces plans to regulate conduct of banks, insurers

New Zealand announced that it plans to regulate the conduct of financial institutions with new measures including a ban on target-based sales incentives, following a review by regulators. The government measures also include a new conduct licensing system for banks, insurers and non-bank deposit takers, and a requirement that these entities meet specified standards of customer treatment. The measures also give the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) the power to direct institutions to change behaviour, improve their systems, and suspend or vary the conditions of a licence, the government said in a statement. The new financial conduct regime will: Create a…
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Ex- Danske Bank head caught up in fraud probe found dead

Ex- Danske Bank head caught up in fraud probe found dead

The former head of Danske Bank's arm in Estonia has been found dead days after he went missing. Police had been searching for Aivar Rehe since he left his home in Tallinn on Monday. Rehe was a witness in an ongoing money-laundering investigation, but not a suspect. The bank is under investigation in several countries for payments of about €200bn through its Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015. Rehe headed Danske Bank's Estonian branch during that time. His body was found in his own garden in a suburb of the capital, Estonian Public Broadcasting reported. Police had said on Monday…
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Another Swiss bank enters into cryptoassets

Another Swiss bank enters into cryptoassets

Arab Bank Switzerland has teamed up with blockchain technology firm Taurus to offer its wealthy clients access to bitcoin and ethereum. The bank joins a growing list of established players joining forces with fintech firms to tap into cryptoassets. The partnership says it will launch a “new range of digital asset services, including custody and brokerage” of the two largest cryptocurrencies by market share. It utilises the fintech's "Taurus Protect" crypto storage platform. The Arab Bank Switzerland is part of the Jordan-headquartered Arab Bank group. Taurus has already established a partnership with Bank Vontobel with the so-called Digital Asset Vault.…
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UK banks sign up to U.N.-backed responsible banking code

UK banks sign up to U.N.-backed responsible banking code

Britain’s banks will implement U.N.-backed “responsible banking” principles being launched next week that will influence lending and company behaviour, British banking trade body UK Finance said. The principles seek to make banking more attuned to the needs of society and the environment. High bonuses and taxpayer bailouts in the financial crisis a decade ago led to a loss of public trust in banking that has yet to be fully regained. The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative principles will be launched during the annual U.N. General Assembly in New York next week. Britain’s financial sector is facing uncertainty over future…
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HSBC plans sale of French retail banking business

HSBC plans sale of French retail banking business

HSBC   is planning to exit its French retail banking business under interim chief executive Noel Quinn, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The likeliest buyer for the unit would be a French bank looking to add market share, the WSJ reported, adding that the likely price for the business was not clear. British bank HSBC would continue to offer wholesale banking operations in France, the WSJ added.   Via Reuters/WSJ
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Switzerland’s first crypto banks receive licences

Switzerland’s first crypto banks receive licences

The Swiss financial regulator has awarded banking and securities dealer licences to two new “crypto banks”. SEBA and Sygnum have been cleared to operate, a major milestone for the fledging industry. At the same time, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) issued rules on how to apply anti-money laundering regulations to the banks “where the inherent anonymity of blockchain technology presents increased risks”. This restricts the transfer of tokens to people the bank knows. “FINMA-supervised institutions are thus not permitted to receive tokens from customers of other institutions or to send tokens to such customers. This practice applies as…
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Bank warns Hong Kong protests will hit economy

Bank warns Hong Kong protests will hit economy

The Hong Kong-based Bank of East Asia Ltd (BEA) has warned that weeks of protests in Hong Kong could hit the economies of the Chinese-ruled city and mainland China itself as demonstrators headed for a sit-in at the subway site of a mid-summer mob attack. It also warned that social unrest in Hong Kong and a trade dispute between China and the US could affect the economies of China and the former British colony. Some Hong Kong companies have been dragged into controversy after 11 weeks of sometimes violent clashes between police and pro-democracy protesters, angered by a perceived erosion…
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Barclays no longer banking cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase

Barclays no longer banking cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase

Barclays is no longer providing banking services to cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters, ending a relationship that started in March last year as the exchange expanded in Europe. The rare deal between the San Francisco-based exchange and the British bank made it easier for Coinbase users to buy cryptocurrencies with pounds and withdraw their funds. The exchange’s chief executive for the UK, which is Coinbase’s biggest European market, said in March 2018 that the deal with Barclays had taken some time to sign because the bank needed to be sure that Coinbase had the right…
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ECB to test five Croatian banks

ECB to test five Croatian banks

The European Central Bank said on Wednesday it would carry out a stress test of five Croatian banks, a preliminary step in Zagreb’s bid to join the euro zone. Zagrebačka banka, Privredna banka Zagreb, Erste & Steiermärkische Bank, OTP banka Hrvatska and Hrvatska poštanska banka will all be tested, with results expected in May 2020, the ECB added. Croatia last month submitted a formal bid to join the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM-2), an early stage on the path to membership of the euro currency. Via Reuters
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HSBC Global Asset Management names Nicolas Moreau as CEO

HSBC Global Asset Management names Nicolas Moreau as CEO

HSBC Global Asset Management has appointed Nicolas Moreau as its new chief executive, the firm said in a statement, adding that he will join in September. Moreau, former head of AXA France and Deutsche Bank’s DWS unit, replaces Sri Chandrasekharan, who will be moving into another senior role within HSBC Group, the lender’s asset management business said. Moreau will be based in London, it added. Moreau will likely be given a mandate to explore a combination of the arm with a rival through a merger or a takeover. Earlier in the week, HSBC’s John Flint was ousted as CEO after…
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HSBC chief executive resigns in top level reshuffle

HSBC chief executive resigns in top level reshuffle

John Flint, the chief executive of HSBC has stepped down after the bank said it needed a change in leadership to address a "challenging global environment". Flint is giving up the role he has held for a year and a half "by mutual agreement with the board". Flint, aged 51 who has worked at HSBC for 30 years, said: "I have agreed with the board that today's good interim results indicate that this is the right time for change, both for me and the bank." He will immediately cease his day-to-day responsibilities at HSBC but will help with the transition…
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Revolut launches free share trading in Europe

Revolut launches free share trading in Europe

  Digital finance business Revolut is launching a fee-free share-trading service in the UK and Europe on Thursday, seeking a slice of the brokerage-controlled market to continue the company’s rapid expansion. The UK-based fintech start-up has revolutionized currency exchange in Europe, offering cheap transactions to businesses and individual consumers. The company says it has 6 million customers in the UK and Europe and has signed up half a million in Poland in a little more than a year. Fee-free share trading will be limited to only a few transactions for clients who hold free Revolut accounts, while those who pay…
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Libya’s central bank drops dollar purchase fees to 163%

Libya’s central bank drops dollar purchase fees to 163%

Reuters reports that the Libyan Presidential Council on Tripoli of the Government of National Accord (GNA) announced on Tuesday that it will cut the fee on sales of dollars and other foreign currencies to 163% from August 04. The GNA, together with the Central Bank set the fee at 183% in September 2018, effectively devaluing the Libyan dinar to bridge the conversion gap between the official and far bigger black market.   Via Reuters
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Photo Story: Preview of Bank of England’s new 50 GBP note

Photo Story: Preview of Bank of England’s new 50 GBP note

An undated handout photo made available by the British Bank of England on 15 July 2019 showing the new concept image design of the Bank of England's 50 GBP note featuring British computer pioneer and codebreaker Alan Turing. Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, announced that Alan Turing will appear on the new polymer note. Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today. As the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, as well as war hero, Alan Turing’s contributions were far ranging and path breaking. Turing is a giant…
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Fresh crackdown in the UK in fight against dirty money

Fresh crackdown in the UK in fight against dirty money

The British government is giving new impetus to the fight against money laundering. Through the Economic Crime Plan the British Government intends to draw together actions to overhaul the approach to tackling economic crime, with greater partnering between the government, law enforcement and the private sector.  This includes: government, law enforcement and business agree joint plan to work closer together to tackle fraud, money laundering, bribery and corruption £6.5 million from major financial institutions to reform the Suspicious Activity Reporting regime action on cryptoassets to ensure these are not being used for money laundering and other illicit activity Asset Recovery…
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BOE believes British banks can cope with no-deal Brexit

BOE believes British banks can cope with no-deal Brexit

British banks hold enough capital to cope with a simultaneous disorderly no-deal Brexit and global trade war, the Bank of England said on Thursday as part of its half-yearly assessment of financial risks. In an assessment that raised little in the way of new concerns, the BoE confirmed it would intensify its focus on risks such as illiquid investment funds, liquidity shocks, crypto-currencies and environmental dangers. Businesses have said a no-deal exit  would cause widespread economic disruption, and the BoE noted a sharp fall in foreign investors buying British commercial property and some company loans during early 2019. Britain runs…
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EU’s 2018 bank stress test considered too mild

EU’s 2018 bank stress test considered too mild

  Last year’s European Union bank stress test did not appropriately reflect systemic risks, EU auditors said on Wednesday, a shortfall that may have produced misleading results for some lenders, especially those in weaker states. The European Banking Authority (EBA) found that none of the 48 banks it tested last year failed a major capital threshold, in what was seen as a positive outcome for the bloc’s banking system which is still recovering from a decade-long financial crisis. But the European Court of Auditors, which is responsible for evaluating EU policies, said in a report on Wednesday that the EBA…
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