Technisys helps Latin America warm to the digital revolution

Latin American banks may lag behind their counterparts elsewhere in the world when it comes to digital innovation, but German Pugliese Bassi, co-founder and chief marketing officer at Miami-based technology provider Technisys, believes that attitudes towards technology are changing, making it the ideal time to launch a digital-only bank in the region. 

The Lloyds-HBOS affair: The odd couple

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UK article only

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Hyperactive, yet passive

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The Lloyds-HBOS affair

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An unhappy financial marriage is examined in court

LLOYDS TSB was boring and stodgy—the slow and steady tortoise of British banking. HBOS fancied itself as racy and exciting but, when it blew up in 2008, needed a rescuer. Waiving the usual competition rules, the government steered HBOS into the arms of Lloyds. An initial bail-out of £17 billion ($31 billion) left the government holding a 43.4% stake in the combined company. It also held £4 billion of preference shares and tried to charge Lloyds a £16-billion fee for insuring its balance-sheet. The newly renamed Lloyds Banking Group subsequently issued £13.5 billion in new shares to buy its way out of the latter two entanglements.
A lawsuit working its way through the High Court has shone new light upon the events of 2008. By gobbling up HBOS, Lloyds TSB’s management created Britain’s largest banking …

Italy’s bad debts: Burden-sharing

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Clear thinking needed

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Italy’s bad debts

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Milan

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The government tries to relieve banks of non-performing loans

BANKS in Italy fared better during the financial crisis than many of their peers, sparing Italian taxpayers the bail-outs their counterparts in other countries had to shoulder. But although they stuck to their cautious business models and avoided fuelling a big housing boom and bust, Italy’s protracted recession has enfeebled them. It has caused bad loans to soar, which in turn has prevented them from supporting a still weak recovery with new lending.
The burden of non-performing loans (NPLs) in Italy is now immense: they amount to €350 billion ($370 billion), the equivalent of 21% of GDP. With these unproductive assets tying up their capital, Italian banks are unable to extend new credit to businesses. In fact, they are lending out less in an effort to shore up their balance-sheets (see chart).

The government would …

Spain’s multinational banks: Impecunity in diversity

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How to fight back

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Spain’s multinational banks

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Madrid

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Foreign subsidiaries are proving a headache for big Spanish banks

DURING the financial crisis, it looked like a stroke of genius. Huge foreign operations helped succour Spain’s two biggest banks, Santander and BBVA. Last year Santander boasted that it was one of the few big international banks not to have suffered a single quarterly loss throughout the crisis. But diversification cuts both ways: turmoil in emerging markets is now sapping profits at Santander and BBVA just as their home market recovers.
Less than 30 years ago, Santander was a smallish Spanish retail bank. Now it is a titan, operating in ten “core” countries, including emerging markets such as Brazil and mature ones such as Britain. BBVA, too, boasts a big retail-banking operation in multiple countries.

The …