Regulators have levied financial penalties of $321 billion on banks globally since the 2007-2008 financial crisis, following regulatory lapses, global currency scandals, and market manipulation, according to a note by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Almost ten years since the financial crisis, the banking industry has not completely recovered, BCG said in an industry report. A number of factors have helped drive this trend, including a more concerted focus from US regulators such as the US’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). However, an overall more aggressive tone from US regulators has helped punish fraudulent behavior, accruing record fines over this period, according to a recent Bloomberg report.
Global transaction banks are actively using SWIFT’s new global payments innovation (gpi) service, which opened for live payments in January 2017, says the financial messaging services provider. ABN AMRO, Bank of China, BBVA, Citi, Danske Bank, DBS Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, ING Bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, Nordea Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and UniCredit are live with SWIFT gpi, exchanging gpi payments across 60 country corridors. Numerous additional banks will follow in the coming months. “SWIFT gpi is now live and is already enhancing the cross-border payments experience for corporate treasurers,” says Christian Sarafidis, Chief Marketing Officer at SWIFT.
The European banks, which stocks are represented by the index Stoxx Europe 600 Banks, one of the 19 supersectors of the Stoxx family, had sharply underperformed the market until July 2016. The course of the banking sector had reversed in August when the index started to climb and its weakness turned into strength. The most convincing signal at this matter occurred the last October, when it broke on the upside moving average at 200 days, just one month after the historical down-trending line has been interrupted. In just six months, 50% of the down-move 2015/2016 had been recovered, at the beginning of 2017 the index of the European Banks had risen 50% from the lows.
First International Bank of Israel is liquidating its remaining international business, and will become the only one of Israel's five leading banks that operates exclusively in Israel. Controlled by Zadik Bino, the bank announced that it had signed an agreement to sell FIBI Switzerland to Swiss bank CBH. CBH will acquire FIBI Switzerland's customer portfolio, which totaled 876 million Swiss Franc as of September 30, for seven million Swiss francs, amounting to 0.8% of the assets. CBH will also pay an amount equal to FIBI Switzerland's equity, which totaled 59.2 million Swiss francs as of September 30. The deal is slated for completion by the end of the first quarter of 2017.
BNP Paribas, the French multinational bank and financial services company, announced today that it has processed several live payments for Panini Group, an international leader in collectibles and trading cards and Amcor, a global leader in packaging solutions, using blockchain technology. It processed and cleared for payments in various currencies between bank accounts located in Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The payments were fully processed and cleared in a few minutes, which BNP Paribas says highlights the real potential of this innovative technology which eliminates delays, unexpected fees and processing errors, paving the way for real time cash management.
Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy’s biggest retail bank, will pay $235 million to New York’s financial regulator for anti-money laundering failures and violations of bank secrecy laws. The big Italian bank failed to flag questionable transactions and deviated from policies designed to root out wrongdoing, which "seriously (compromised) the security of the international financial system," said Maria Vullo, superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services.
The Swiss government plans to dramatically increase international cooperation on fiscal transparency, sharing private information about clients of the country's banks. The automatic exchange of information (AEOI) on bank accounts will be spread to 22 more countries, including Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, and Uruguay as well as India and South Africa, according to the Federal Department of Finance. The move aims to put an end to Switzerland's long-protected banking secrecy practices as well as stopping wealthy foreigners from hiding their undeclared income in the country.
Britain's biggest banks are preparing to move out of the country in early 2017 because of fears over the impending Brexit negotiations as Anthony Browne, chief executive of the British Bankers Association, said in an interview published by The Observer on Sunday. The CEO cited fears the European Union politicians will want to erect trade barriers during the Brexit negotiation as a reason for the planned moves. So rather than risk weakening the strength of the City of London's financial prowess during negotiations, a number of companies are preparing to move wholesale.
The Swiss Association of Bank Employees (ASIB) requires to increase the wages by 1.5% for 2017 and two days off more in 2016. In a statement today, the ASIB writes that "once again the health insurance premiums rose considerably. In addition, the expected increase in inflation rate later this year and throughout 2017. In light of these facts, salary increase by 1,5% for 2017 appears to be entirely justified. ASIB also requires two additional days off in 2016 to compensate for the loss of public holidays that fall on the weekend this year. An advantage for all employees. "
Commerzbank plans to cut around 9,600 jobs in the next few years and scrap its dividend for the time being as it restructures to become profitable. The restructuring plan through 2020 will cost about €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion). Actually it employs about 45,000 full-time staff. "The focus on the core business, with some business activities being discontinued, and the digitalisation and automation of workflows will lead to staff reductions amounting to around 9,600 full-time positions," Commerzbank said.
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