Our biggest stories of the past week are …
It’s Valentines day and Goldman Sachs is talking about bringing back the love into banking. Lloyd Blankfein, the notorious CEO who talks about banks doing God’s Work whilst his staff call customers muppets and the media call them the Vampire Squid, is quoted in an interview with Japan’s Nikkei newspaper as saying: It's going to be a long time before most people in the world are in love with bankers, but that is not going to stop us from working hard to be a better institution. Yep, it’s going to be a long, long, very long time. Maybe a generation. Maybe more.
This month’s Banker magazine has its star feature focused upon the best banking brands in the world. This is an annual report produced by The Banker with Brand Finance. At the end of this blog entry, you will find The Banker’s analysis of the results this year, but here’s my brief view first. The top 10 bank brands show an even spread across Europe (3 of the top 10 banks), America (4) and Asia (3).
As I finished presenting at a recent conference, an audience member came up to me and said: “I guess you don’t like banks very much, do you?” The question surprised me as I love banks. I make my living from banks. My only thought throughout each day is what’s next in banking. I said this to the guy, and he said he was surprised how I spent most of my time on the blog, and in public speaking, openly criticising the banks for being slow, uncustomer focused and purely in it for the shareholder return. “Ah”, I replied. “You’re right there. I don’t like the banks in that sense. But that is not disliking banks, that is disliking past bank thinking.” He asked me to explain, and so here’s the thing.
Talking with one of my bank contacts last week was interesting. He was lamenting the days of true customer focus, as a banker would who joined the bank in the 1980s. After three decades, he's seen it all and the mentality of retailing has been the biggest knock-out blow to the industry he's ever seen. Admittedly PPI mis-selling has cost the industry over £20 billion in fines and compensation so far. Now we also have packaged accounts, SWAPS mis-selling, hasty foreclosures of business loans, customer data loss and more on the cards. Does this mean banks have changed their spots?
I recently had an epiphany. It was not painful, but it was enlightening. The realisation occurred to me as I looked at a chart from Zopa, especially the hockey stick rise in funds transferred as the financial crisis hit, and relates to a recent headline in the Financial Times: “P2P group Zopa secures £15m investment from Arrowgrass Capital”. The article included the following line:
During the Future of Money session at Sibos we looked at the bank as assembly of best of breed products and services, and suggested this was one of the possible ways in which the financial institutions can adapt their business model to deal with the disruptions in the industry. With the 4th Finovate Europe just around the corner, we have to wonder why is this shift away from monolithic solutions not happening naturally and faster? The facts …
The major general news stories of the past week include …
Cyber-thieves 'grab video of victims' to steal bank cash – BBC
Cyber-thieves are increasingly grabbing video of how victims use their computer, to better steal from online bank accounts, a security firm reveals.
Lloyds claims a £415m pre-tax profit – but numbers don’t add up – The Independent
Lloyds Banking Group plunged into the red in the second half of last year as it upgraded technology to the “most significant operational risk” facing the bank in the wake of January’s outage that interfered with credit and debit card payments.
No such thing as the banking profession – Financial Times
The multiplicity of self-inflicted injuries can be traced to the absence of both common purpose and clearly articulated shared values
Deal queen set to sue Barclays over Abu Dhabi funding – The Independent
The deal maker Amanda Staveley is taking steps to sue Barclays for its role in the £3.5bn fundraising from Abu Dhabi in which she acted as an adviser. The deal is now the subject of a bribery investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Serious Fraud Office.
Regulator questions reasons for Co-op chief's departure – The Telegraph
Bank of England deputy Governor Andrew Bailey disputes claims made by two former Co-op Bank deputy chairmen over why they left the stricken bank
Barclays to cut 12,000 jobs as bonus pool jumps 10% despite slump in profits – The Independent
Barclays has announced plans to axe up to 12,000 jobs, including 7,000 positions in the UK, by 2015 in a bid to slash costs despite hiking compensation for investment bankers.
Boss of RBS says behaviour must change 'at every level' – Reuters
State-backed British lender Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) needs to change its behaviour "at every level" to restore trust and faces a hard road to recovery, its new boss said on Monday.
Barclays unveils £5.2bn profits a day earlier in wake of confidential data theft – The Independent
Barclays has been forced to release its profit figure nearly 24 hours ahead of schedule in a further embarrassment for the bank following the theft of thousands of customers’ confidential data.
Barclays launches investigation after customer data leak – Reuters
LONDON (Reuters) – Barclays said it had launched an investigation after a newspaper reported that the personal details of 27,000 customers had been stolen and sold, raising the prospect of new fines for the bank.
Bank of America sends credit card offer addressed to 'Lisa Is A Sl*t McIntire' – Daily Mail
The mother of a San Francisco-based freelance writer has received a credit card offer in the mail, ostensibly addressed to her daughter, but with one significant difference.
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