This week's view from Europe, courtesy of Edith Rigler :
SEPA becomes reality: end-date regulation in force – Official Journal of the European Union, 30th March 2012
Regulation (EU) 260/2012 (the long awaited so-called SEPA Migration the End-Date Regulation) entered into force on 30th March 2012. The full text has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
Crime in the digital age: Commission plans European Cybercrime Centre - European Commission, 30 March 2012
With people spending more and more time online, the threat from cybercrime is greater than ever. This week, the European Commission adopted a Communication which plans to establish a European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) within the EU law enforcement agency, Europol. The Centre will aim to take cybercriminals offline and disrupt the digital underground economy.
Bank accounts: EU Commission launches consultation – Bankmagazin, 23 March 2012
On 20th March the EU Commission issued a public consultation paper to clarify the need for actions around transparency of account fees, switching between payment account providers and access to a basic payment account. The consultation follows a consumer market study across the EU which showed that more than two thirds of mystery shoppers were not able to switch their bank account successfully.
Euro area unemployment rate at 10.8%, EU27 at 10.2% – EuroStat. February 2012
EuroStat, the statistical office of the EU, has published the latest unemployment rates. The lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria (4.2%), the Netherlands (4.9%), Luxembourg (5.2%) and Germany (5.7%), and the highest in Spain (23.6%) and Greece (21.0%). The rate was 8.3% in the UK. As a comparison, the unemployment rate was 8.3% in the USA and 4.7% in Japan.
WestLB says goodbye, deeply in the red – Manager Magazin 21 March 2012
Once it was one of the largest Landesbanks in Germany, now its after tax losses amount to 48 million euro. It is expected to be broken up by mid-year. WestLB was government supported during the crisis but does not have a viable business model which would enable it to survive.
Deutsche Bank puts a leash on Postbank – Manager Magazin 28 March 2012
Deutsche is focusing Postbank on consumer banking, i.e. small savers and small corporates and on sales of Deutsche products such as DWS funds. The branches of Deutsche subsidiary Norrisbank will be closed and its customers will open accounts at Postbank. Norrisbank will only continue as an online bank.
Commerzbank ready to wind down Eurohypo – European Commission press release, 30 March 2012
When it appeared that Eurohypo could not be divested because of its large funding needs and significant sovereign exposure, Commerzbank received approval from the EU Commission to wind down Eurohypo. It is Commerzbank's largest subsidiary active in public finance and commercial real estate. About 1200 jobs are at risk.
Technology revolutionises retail banking, says A.T.Kearney – Bankmagazin 21 March 2012
Interviews with European leaders in financial services confirm that most banks have not managed to introduce innovative technology in their front office, in their products or in the relationship with their customers. Non-banks such as Amazon, Google and Facebook enter the market with new offerings which endanger banks. Success in retail banking hinges on understanding customer needs better.