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HSBC CEO resigns; Italian banks' Q2 profits rise YOY; BBVA to sell Paraguay unit

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

Departures

* HSBC Holdings PLC CEO John Flint resigned while the bank reported first-half profit attributable to shareholders of $8.51 billion, up from $7.17 billion a year ago. Noel Quinn, head of global commercial banking, was named interim CEO while Barry O'Byrne was appointed interim CEO of global commercial banking. CFO Ewen Stevenson is seen as a likely candidate to become the group's next CEO, Bloomberg News reported.

* UniCredit SpA Chairman Fabrizio Saccomanni died Aug. 8, with deputy Chairman Cesare Bisoni taking over on a temporary basis.

Italian earnings

* UniCredit SpA reported a reclassified second-quarter net profit attributable to the group of €1.85 billion, up from €1.02 billion a year earlier, and lowered its full-year revenue guidance amid expectations of a prolonged low interest rate environment. CEO Jean Pierre Mustier said the Italian lender is working on changes to its group structure that will help protect the bank against macroeconomic shocks.

* BPER Banca SpA reported first-half 2019 attributable profit of €100.5 million, while Banco BPM SpA, Credito Valtellinese SpA and Credito Emiliano SpA reported year-over year increases in profits.

Rest of Europe

* Commerzbank AG's second-quarter consolidated profit attributable to shareholders slipped to €271 million from the restated €272 million a year earlier.

* Raiffeisen Bank International AG's second-quarter consolidated profit came in at €345 million, a decrease from €357 million a year ago.

* ABN Amro Bank NV reported a year-over-year increase in second-quarter attributable net profit to €693 million from a restated €684 million, despite extra costs for efforts to bolster its resources to detect financial crime.

* KBC Group NV reported second-quarter profit after tax attributable to equity holders of the parent of €745 million, up from €692 million a year earlier.

* Portugal's Novo Banco SA reported a first-half consolidated net loss attributable to shareholders of €400.1 million, compared with a loss of €212.2 million a year ago.

* VTB Bank PJSC reported second-quarter net profit of 30.9 billion Russian rubles, down from 43.9 billion rubles a year earlier.

Regulatory boulevard

* HSBC's Swiss private banking arm will reportedly pay €294.4 million to the Belgian state to settle a tax fraud case.

* A Paris court fined former HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA CEO Peter Braunwalder €500,000 and gave him a one-year suspended jail sentence after he pleaded guilty to helping wealthy clients evade taxes, Bloomberg wrote.

* Italy's tax agency is seeking the names of Italian residents who held Swiss accounts with UBS Group AG between 2015 and 2016 and failed to provide evidence that their accounts were tax compliant, Bloomberg reported.

M&A corner

* Banco Santander SA launched exchange offers to acquire all issued and outstanding shares in Banco Santander México SA that it does not already own.

* Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA agreed to sell unit BBVA Paraguay SA to Banco GNB Paraguay SA for roughly $270 million.

* CNP Assurances SA and Società Cattolica di Assicurazione SC are some of the European companies looking to acquire a controlling stake in Unione di Banche Italiane SpA's insurance business, insiders told Reuters.

In other news

* The European Banking Authority called for the full implementation of the final Basel III global bank capital rules in the EU, saying the reforms will contribute to the banking sector's credibility.

* The ECB said it will carry out a comprehensive assessment of five Croatian banks as part of the country's bid to enter the Exchange Rate Mechanism II and, subsequently, the eurozone.

* HSBC disclosed a $1 billion share buyback program.

Featured during the week on S&P Global Market Intelligence

HSBC says business as usual in China despite blacklist reports; CEO departs: Chairman Mark Tucker said the bank is committed to China despite claims it has been added to a government list of "unreliable" foreign companies, and it was announced that John Flint will leave his post and thousands of jobs will be cut.

'Case closed' on RBI's alleged link to Russian money laundering scheme, CEO says: Raiffeisen Bank International's internal review, prompted by a leak in early 2019, has not found proof of wrongdoing, Johann Strobl said, but the lender still faces a fine in another AML case.

Intesa enjoys 'market-leading' position, but Italian economy poses risks: A market-leading position, prudent management and relatively diverse loan book mean that Intesa Sanpaolo SpA may be in a better position than its peers to weather further downturns in the Italian economy, according to S&P Global Ratings.