European banks: Banking and nothingness

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The reluctant European

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European banks

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Europe’s dithering banks are losing ground to their decisive American rivals

YOU wait ages for a European bank to send a clear signal on its future strategy and then it gives two in as many days—saying seemingly opposite things. On October 11th the chairman of Barclays hinted its investment-banking unit might be flogged to a rival for want of scale. Investors intrigued by the prospect of a simpler Barclays focused on dull-but-reliable retail banking had but a few hours to ponder the prospect. By the next day reports emerged that the same chairman had plumped for a former J.P. Morgan investment banker, Jes Staley, to be the bank’s next boss.
Seven years after the height of the financial crisis, Europe’s large banks still behave as if they are in the thick of the storm. Plans for radical restructurings are shelved before they are even implemented, often accompanied …

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