By Avantika Chilkoti in Mumbai and Thomas Hale in London

Three major private banks have closed operations in India in recent months, as cultural and regulatory challenges derail groups initially drawn by growing wealth in Asia’s third largest economy.

An emerging market with a high savings rate, a collection of some of the world’s most flamboyant businessmen, and economic growth hovering around 5 per cent despite a sharp slowdown, India should be a gold mine for the private banking industry. Continue reading »

China’s annual National People’s Congress (NPC) has started with an interesting focus on online funds.

Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China, and two other central bank officials were cornered by Chinese journalists on the second day of the NPC after some delegates from the financial sector urged stricter supervision of the online funds. Continue reading »

China’s traditional banking sector is leading a counter-attack against the runaway success of online funds launched by internet companies such as Alibaba.

The China Banking Association, with 362 member banks, says deposits made in the funds should not be regulated in the same way as deposits by financial institutions, as at present, but as regular deposits, Chinese media have reportedContinue reading »

Rumours have been rife in Vilnius for months that PKO BP, Poland’s state-owned bank, the country’s biggest, is preparing an entry into Lithuania’s banking sector.

Should we take the rumours seriously? Continue reading »

South Africa’s banks, notably its “big four” of FNB, Nedbank, Standard Bank and Absa, are some of Africa’s strongest financial institutions. But they aren’t immune to the main problems hurting the economy.

So what effect will Wednesday’s surprise interest rate hike have? Continue reading »

You can bring a horse to water. But can you stop it from drinking (too much)? In the upcoming year of the horse, China’s leaders need to figure out exactly that, as its local governments thirst for debt threatens to derail the economy. Will they succeed?

Liu Mingkang, former chairman of China’s Banking Regulatory Commission (pictured), left no doubt about the government’s intention to stop the flood of lending: “The signal is clear cut,” he told beyondbrics in an exclusive interview. “The torrent [of local government debt] is becoming quite limited.” Continue reading »

Something strange is happening in Kazakhstan. Over 12 per cent of consumer loans are non-performing and yet the banks are dishing out more consumer credit than ever.

Lending increased 37 per cent between July 2011 and November last year. It was over four times greater in November 2013 than at the beginning of 2006. Continue reading »

The 12th in our series of guest posts on the outlook for 2014 is by Saurabh Mukherjea and Ritika Mankar Mukherjee of Ambit Capital

In the stockbroking profession, the norm is to view a country through the lens of economic growth and political management. So a lot of effort is currently being expended on analysing when India’s economy will recover, who will win this year’s general elections and what the victorious candidate will do for the country. While such analysis is interesting to perform and sometimes stimulating to read, its ultimate impact on share prices is tenuous at best. Continue reading »

With Nicolás Maduro, president of Venezuela, engaged in an “economic offensive” against what he calls “capitalist parasites”, it may come as a surprise to hear that Banesco, the country’s biggest private-sector bank, has seen off some muscular competition to take control of Spain’s nationalised NCG Banco in a €1bn deal.

An encouraging sign of the vigour of Venezuela’s banking sector, perhaps? Or evidence that Venezuelan banks must hunt overseas for healthy operating environments? Continue reading »

Africa is at the forefront of bringing financial services to the “unbanked” and new opportunities to seasoned investors. In Monday’s FT special report on Africa Banking and Finance, our correspondents examine the continent’s enormous potential and challenges, writes Justin Cash.

Africa editor Javier Blas looks at the growth of sharia-compliant investments across the continent, whilst Anousha Sakoui assesses bright new prospects for M&A activityContinue reading »

Slovenia is no longer the Switzerland of Eastern Europe – but perhaps not the Cyprus or Ireland, either.

Slovenia’s government is confident that it can now dodge the bullet of an international bailout, announcing on Thursday that it would be able to cover a whopping €3bn recapitalisation of its troubled banks from its own resources, despite that sum totalling nearly 10 per cent of GDP. While the announcement has been made with a palpable sense of relief in the tiny eurozone country, questions remain about implementation – and whether the absence of international pressure will allow Slovenia to stall on much-needed reforms. Continue reading »

What keeps foreign banks in India up at night? Regulatory nightmares, at least according to a new survey out on Wednesday from consultants PwC. And while recently-appointed RBI governor Raghuram Rajan is trying to calm their nerves, there are big concerns lurking about the impact of India’s forthcoming elections too. Continue reading »

These days in China, it seems, no matter what business a company is in, its priority is: get into banking. To name a few: Tencent, operator of instant messenger QQ and WeChat; Suning, an electrical appliance retailer; Midea and Gree, electrical appliance manufacturers; Hongdou and Baoxiniao, textile brands; New Hope Group and Yurun Group, a feed manufacturer and pork processing company – all have filed statements or been the subject of reports that they were in the process of obtaining a banking license, according to the People’s Daily. Continue reading »

Bolivia, often labelled as one of South America’s poorest countries, might pull a surprise in 2o13: the IMF expects this landlocked Andean country to grow by 6.7 per cent – its highest rate in ten years.

Despite the fierce anti-capitalist rhetoric and nationalisation policy of President Evo Morales (pictured), Bolivia’s gross domestic product has tripled to $27bn since he took office in January 2006, and economic growth has been chalking up an impressive 5 per cent average. As a consequence, the financial sector has also grown substantially. Any worries? Continue reading »

If Hungarian bankers – already facing another year of heavy losses – thought things could not get worse, they just have.

Only days after Karl Sevelda, chief executive of Raiffeisen Bank International, more than hinted he was prepared to withdraw from some central European countries, including Hungary, due to the unfavorable business climate, the competition office in Budapest on Wednesday announced fines on 11 commercial banks totaling Ft 9.5bn (€32m). Continue reading »