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The Finanser’s Week: 22nd December 2014 – 4th January 2015

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Our biggest stories during the holidays are ...

Happy Holidays!

Well, it's the holiday season and hoop-di-hoop and dickery dock ... no forget all that.  Enjoy your time with families and friends and, from a blustery London City, I wish you all well for the season and a peaceful 2015.

Reflections on 2014 (did the outlook posted in January come true?)

At the start of the year, I posted a range of views for the outlook for 2014 and, on reflection, things didn’t quite turn out as we thought.  Here are a few comments on the start of year outlook, with the summary view outlook for the year in italics to open each section.

Privatbank, Ukraine: an innovator like few others

I was going to keep quiet during this holiday week but, in the spirit of selfishness, I’m going to post a few blog entries about the Ukraine.  Ukraine is a country I’ve not visited before, but was invited to fly over just before Christmas to run a discussion with Privatbank, the largest retail and commercial bank in the country.

How Ukrainians see the Ukraine crisis

I recently noticed that Wired held their 2014 conference with a speaker from the Ukraine.  The speaker was Yulia Marushevska, a young lady from the Ukraine with no special attributes ... apart from making a film about being Ukrainian during the November 2013 through February 2014 Maidan Square protests that went completely mad on the viral network.

How Russia sees the Ukraine crisis

I have several Russian friends who have explained some of the background here.  We also should remember that many of our colleagues in Poland, Germany and other nations grew up in a Russian society before Perestroika and the Glasnost under President Gorbachev, so this is no clear cut structure.

How Europe sees the Ukraine crisis

For Europe, it's been a quite a challenge dealing with the Ukrainian situation.  For a start, it's a country that has a large part of the population wanting to have closer integration with Europe, with dialogue about Ukraine integration into the EU for some time.  

The future for the Ukraine?

No one knows how this will work out.  The sanctions are hurting Russia but Putin won't back down easily, as it would be a serious loss of face.  In recent talks with Angela Merkel, it is clear that he will not back down in fact.  Meanwhile, the Americans are conflicted about the Ukraine and pretty much want to stay out of it.  So what is next?


The major general news stories during the holidays include ...    

Payday lender First Financial fined £175,000 for spam texting - The Independent
A payday loan firm that persistently bombarded people with spam texts encouraging them to borrow money to have a night out has been fined £175,000.        

Volcker Rule: Q&A - The Telegraph
Wall Street has all but lost the battle to water down the so-called Volcker Rule, designed to de-risk banks. Here is a closer look at the legislation        

Revealed: Goldman Sachs clients’ £12m Royal Mail coup - The Independent
Goldman Sachs may have provided the Government with a “knockdown” valuation of the Royal Mail – losing the taxpayer more than £1bn when it was privatised last month, according to critics.        

Barclays introduces 'role-based' pay scheme for top bankers to counter EU bonus cap rules - The Independent
Barclays top bankers will benefit from an additional “role-based” pay allowance on top of their salaries and bonuses.        

London banks quit carbon trading - Financial Times
Fledgling market that was once seen as a promising growth area sees City desks close amid turmoil in European emissions trading scheme

‘Make money and you can do whatever you like’: Sacked oil trader sheds light on working practices at Glencore - The Independent
An oil trader who was sacked by the commodities giant Glencore for being late or absent more than 60 times claimed on Monday that the company permitted staff to “do what you like as long as you make money”.        

Keypads 'cause mobile banking risks' - BBC
Fraud and mistakes on fiddly keypads could create problems for people who use banking services on their mobile phones, a regulator says.

Deutsche Bank 'Horribly Undercapitalized': Regulator - Here is the City
A top U.S. banking regulator called Deutsche Bank's capital levels "horrible" and said it is the worst on a list of global banks based on one measurement of leverage ratios.

'After 50 years, Lloyds is selling me to another bank’ - The Telegraph
Lloyds is splitting off 600 branches into a separate bank called TSB. Customers are going too – and they’re not happy.

Co-op saved, but banks face shake-up in pivotal week - The Independent
The Co-operative Bank will this week announce a plan to fill a £1.5bn hole in its finances, just as the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards recommends new powers to break up struggling banks.        


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Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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