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Barclays investors go green; Julius Bär sued anew; ABN Amro picks new CEO


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Barclays investors go green; Julius Bär sued anew; ABN Amro picks new CEO

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of banking news stories and more published throughout the week.

Bigger picture

* Global central banks are running out of policy measures to fight off a possible recession in the future, outgoing Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said in an interview with the Financial Times.

* The outlook for the British banking sector in the 2020s is stable although it is set to face a number of challenges, particularly nonfinancial risks, S&P Global Ratings said in a report. The agency said the sector could be affected by Brexit, the domestic banking tax system and regime change at the Bank of England, among other factors.

Legal affairs

* The U.K. Prudential Regulation Authority has commissioned so-called skilled person reports on the quality of financial reporting it receives from the units of some of the biggest U.S. banks, insiders told Sky News. The banks said to be subject to the reports include Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley.

* Julius Bär Gruppe AG is facing a new claim of €335 million plus 5% interest since December 2011 from the liquidator of a Lithuanian corporation. Julius Bär noted that the liquidator had previously unsuccessfully tried to sue for €306 million in Lithuania but the new court proceeding has been launched in Geneva.

* Russia-based VTB Bank PJSC reportedly filed a lawsuit against a state-owned Mozambican company that it lent $535 million to as part of a project that became embroiled in a $2 billion corruption scandal.

Earnings buzz in the Nordics

* Jyske Bank A/S raised its net profit guidance for 2019 to approximately 2.4 billion Danish kroner, 400 million kroner higher than its previous forecast in October 2019.

* Norway-based DNB ASA will take a 361 million-kroner hit in its fourth-quarter 2019 results from basis swaps related to funding. DNB will also book a negative effect of 742 million kroner in its Additional Tier 1 capital.

* Skjern Bank A/S upgraded its profit before tax guidance for 2019 to the mid-range of between 160 million Danish kroner and 170 million kroner on the back of positive developments in the fourth quarter of 2019.

German deals

* Commerzbank AG will acquire an equity stake in unit comdirect bank AG from U.K.-based institutional investor Petrus Advisers LLP for an undisclosed sum, giving the group the legal right to squeeze out the unit's shareholders.

* German cooperative lender Volksbank Lübeck eG entered talks regarding a potential merger with larger sector player Hamburger Volksbank eG.

* Hamburg, Germany-based Gossmann & Cie acquired Schwarzmeer und Ostsee Versicherungs AG SOVAG for an undisclosed sum. The deal follows SOVAG's transfer of its legacy portfolio to Darag Group Ltd. on Dec. 19 last year.

* Deutsche Bank AG asset management unit DWS Group GmbH & Co. KGaA acquired 24.9% of Arabesque AI to boost its capabilities and speed up its digital readiness efforts.

More M&A

* OTP Bank Nyrt. CEO and Chairman Sándor Csányi said the Hungarian lender is considering purchasing more banks in Slovenia following its recent acquisition of Société Générale SA's local subsidiaries, Reuters reported.

* Lithuania-based Šiaulių Bankas AB will acquire a retail loan portfolio of €125 million from the Lithuanian branch of Danish lender Danske Bank A/S.

In other news

* A group of institutional Barclays Bank PLC investors filed a resolution calling on the to phase out its financing of fossil fuel companies. The resolution also asks Barclays to consider transitioning to a low-carbon economy.

* UBS Group AG is splitting its wealth management business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa into three as part of the restructuring of its private banking business, Bloomberg News reported, citing an internal memo. The move is expected to result in up to 500 job losses.

* ABN Amro Bank NV's supervisory board intends to appoint Robert Swaak as its new CEO, replacing Kees van Dijkhuizen, during the Dutch bank's April 22 general meeting.

Featured during the week on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Portuguese banks set to further reduce bad loans in 2020: Portuguese banks, which have among the highest bad loan ratios in Europe, will continue writing off loans and selling bad debt in 2020, but the pace will slow down, according to analysts.

Bank of England's Carney hits back at critics and warns 'winter is coming': Outgoing Bank of England Governor Mark Carney stood by the policies which saw him accused of being an "unreliable boyfriend," as he warned that low interest rates look set to continue for years.