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 »
HSBC’s Latin American woes just show no sign of letting up.
While strong performances from the bank’s two biggest markets – Hong Kong and the UK – helped boost overall pre-tax profit by 30 per cent during the third quarter, business in Latin America posted another quarter of double digit decline as bad loans from Mexico and Brazil continue to mount. Continue reading »
It is tempting to see Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s $1.47bn sale of the last bit of its stake in China Construction Bank as part of an ongoing story of capitulation by western banks that have failed to make it in the Middle Kingdom.
But look at little closer, and it appears to be more of a shift in tactics than a wholesale exit. Continue reading »
Having a heavy exposure to emerging markets can be a mixed blessing. For proof, just ask Standard Chartered.
Just a day after HSBC reported a sharp drop in profits in many of its emerging markets, it was the UK bank’s turn on Tuesday to be stung by its exposure to emerging markets.
StanChart, which generates 90 per cent of its operating profits from emerging markets, reported a 15 per cent decline in first-half pre-tax profit to $3.33bn – largely as a result of a $1bn writedown it had to make on its South Korean business. Continue reading »
Hungary’s bankers are in negotiations with the government and are “open and really trying to find a solution” to help households struggling with repayments on foreign-exchange denominated mortgages and other loans. So says Agnes Suto, spokeswoman for the Hungarian Banking Association.
The talks, which began in earnest on Monday, follow statements by ministers this month threatening legislation that would transfer the burden from households to the banks. Continue reading »
Shares in OTP, Hungary’s biggest locally-owned bank, rose nearly 5 per cent on Wednesday before relaxing a bit, as economy minister Mihaly Varga promised to “phase out” foreign-currency denominated mortgages. OTP’s chairman said earlier in the day the bank would be damaged by any radical measure. The promise of a gradual approach will be a relief to foreign-owned banks in Hungary, which face heavy losses should the government force them to re-write mortgage contracts, as it has threatened to do. Continue reading »
In another example of Colombian banks using their local dominance as a base for expansion into Central America, Grupo Aval, the country’s biggest financial conglomerate, is to snap up BBVA’s Panama unit for $490m.
It also marks a further retreat by European banks from fringe areas amid tough economic times at home. Colombian banks are showing they have the cash and willingness to grasp the opportunity on offer. Continue reading »
Ecobank Transnational has ridden the boom in African banking and has bold regional ambitions. But the Financial Times has seen documents that suggest some shareholders are unhappy with its leadership. Africa editor William Wallis talks to Daniel Garrahan about the outlook for the bank.
Recent investigations into irregular business practices at South Korea’s Nonghyup Bank underline the challenges that financial regulators face in ferreting out unfair business deals between affiliates of the country’s big financial groups.
The Financial Supervisory Service said on Wednesday it had discovered through a special inspection that Nonghyup extended a loan of Won6.35tn ($5.7bn) to its parent National Agricultural Cooperative Federation in March last year and offered some of the loan at lower interest rates as a favour. Continue reading »
Mobile money services in Africa isn’t just all about M-Pesa in Kenya. Orange Mobile has just rolled out its first international mobile money transfer service between Mali, Senegal and Ivory Coast – the first such service in the region.
But there are some big players offering similar, rival services. Can Orange make a difference? Continue reading »
By Michael Glazer
A Zagreb court last week ruled that eight banks had mis-sold Swiss franc loans to retail clients. All foreign-owned, the banks make up more than 80 per cent of the Croatian banking industry.
The judgement – which is open to appeal – is fascinating in its many implications, not the least of which is the damages banks may have to pay. Continue reading »
What sort of welcome should we give to the Vietnamese Asset Management Company, due to come into operation today? As beyondbrics wrote in May, its alternative title of ‘bad bank’ may be a big understatement. Now Fitch Ratings has weighed in with a report saying the VAMC is unlikely to solve the problems of Vietnam’s troubled banking system or, therefore, do much to help revive the country’s flagging economy. Continue reading »