Metro and First Direct joint top in satisfaction rankings
Metro Bank has come joint top with First Direct in official satisfaction ratings with 82% of personal British customers saying they would recommend the banks to their family and friends. RBS remained bottom of the bi-annual survey. In Northern Ireland, HSBC was top of the ranking among personal customers, with a satisfaction rate of 77%. Meanwhile, nearly 17,000 small businesses were also asked about customer service at banks with 85% placing Handelsbanken top again while TSB was bottom of the list. In Northern Ireland, Santander led the list, with a satisfaction rating of 65%. The Times’ Patrick Hosking says since the satisfaction tables were introduced performance for the lowest scorers has barely changed while overall personal satisfaction has fallen from 49-85% in the first survey to 46-82% in the latest.
Customers threaten to leave TSB following latest IT problems
TSB was forced to apologise on Thursday for an IT meltdown which left its customers without access to its online banking services. Some users, still angry about last year’s migration failure, said it was time to switch. Yesterday’s problem started on its mobile app and website at about 4am and was fixed in three hours.
RBS down after downgrades
Royal Bank of Scotland’s shares slumped yesterday after Macquarie, UBS and HSBC all took aim with a mix of stock and target price downgrades. The downbeat assessments came after the group posted second-quarter adjusted profits that were around 9% below what analysts had forecast. The fall was compounded by the share going ex-dividend, meaning it traded at a discount throughout the day. RBS closed down 20.8p at 177.65p.
Banks will have a few hours for Brexit changeover
Banks are warning the government that they will have only four to six hours to turn around their systems if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on October 31st. One industry source told the Times: "There will almost certainly be issues, with colleagues contacting each other in member states, and questions for compliance and legal teams, which will slow things down."
Shortage of cashpoints restricts spending
A survey by the Post Office found 57% of people said they struggled to find a bank or ATM when taking a "staycation" in the UK. The lack of access to cash meant about a third were unable to spend locally when stores were cash only.
Monzo steps up efforts to become profitable
Commenting on Monzo’s move into personal loans, CEO Tom Blomfield said more traditional lending “can get us a good way to profitability, if not even all the way”.
Catalis sold in £90m deal
UK video games company Catalis Group is being sold to Project Sword Bidco, a newly formed vehicle indirectly controlled by funds managed by North Edge Capital in an £89.8m deal.
Charges decimate Rabobank profits
Pre-tax profit at Rabobank fell by 26% in the first half, amid weighty impairment charges and continuing low interest rates. The Dutch lender's operating profit before tax fell to €1.61bn (£1.49bn) in the six months to the end of June, from €2.17bn in the same period a year earlier, while total income fell 4% to €5.76bn - from €6.03bn in the first half of 2018. Impairment charges hit €440m in the second half of the year, from minus $37m in the year prior.
ECB to shut down Latvian bank PNB
The European Central Bank has closed down Latvia’s sixth-largest lender PNB Banka after ruling it had become insolvent in a further blow to the country’s scandal-hit banking system.
Deutsche Bank adds ex-UBS executive Jürg Zeltner to board
UBS’s former head of wealth management, Jürg Zeltner, has been named to Deutsche Bank’s supervisory board as it seeks to reduce reliance on trading and focus on alternative income sources.
Hong Kong regulator probes Chinese corporate borrowing
Regulators in Hong Kong have launched an investigation at Citic Bank International into the offshore financing activities of some of China's most acquisitive conglomerates.
Profit warning sends SGL shares down a third
SGL Carbon CEO Juergen Koehler has announced that he will step down at the end of August just as the company said it expected adjusted operating profit to be about €10m (£9.2m) lower than last year’s €65m.
Boeing puts new airliner development on hold
An ultra-long-range version of Boeing’s new 777X airliner has been put on hold as the firm grapples with the 737 Max crisis that continues to ground its best-selling aircraft. A record $3bn loss was reported by the firm in the second quarter after a $4.9bn charge to help cover costs related to the 737 Max issue.
Marshalls reports 14% rise in profits
Landscaping products firm Marshalls said it was "outperforming" the construction sector after posting a 14% rise in pre-tax profit to £37.1m for the first half of 2019.
Consumers open to AI in financial services
Research by Pinsent Masons and Innovate Finance reveals that 63% of UK customers are happy to engage with artificial intelligence (AI)-driven financial services for simple queries. The figure fell for more complex dealings but remained high: 33% are happy to use AI for mortgage applications, nearly 40% for credit checks and 45% for insurance quotes. Luke Scanlon, head of fintech propositions at Pinsent Masons, commented: “Over time, as technology evolves, we would expect to see AI use increase across a breadth of services as customers have more time to adjust and financial services build greater trust in the use of AI systems.”
'Short attack' prompts board shake up at Burford
Burford Capital has appointed Jim Kilman to replace Elizabeth O’Connell as CFO under shareholder duress. O’Connell, who is married to the company’s chief executive Christopher Bogart, will move into the role of chief strategy officer. Burford said on Thursday that it would seek an additional listing on either the New York Stock Exchange or the Nasdaq by the first quarter of 2020 and that, if neither of these were possible, it would seek a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange.
Octopus acquires Seccl for £10m
Financial services outfit Octopus is to buy wealth management platform Seccl for £10m. The Bath-based fintech start-up helps businesses build investment platforms using flexible software designed to reduce administrative and cost burdens.
LEISURE & HOSPITALITY
GVC lifts earnings forecast
Ladbrokes Coral owner GVC has upgraded its full-year earnings forecast and reported pre-tax profit of £212m for the first half of the year, up 31% from £162.1m in the first half of 2018. The group had expected the cap on fixed-odds betting terminals to dent earnings by around £120m over two years and result in the closure of around 1,000 shops, but it has now said only 900 shops would close.
MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT
The Business of Fashion strikes deal with the Financial Times
Media start-up The Business of Fashion has sold a minority stake to the FT, which is leading BoF’s Series B funding round, alongside existing backers including Index Ventures and Felix Capital.
Virgin Media CFO to lead Liberty’s fibre push
Robert Dunn is to leave his post at Virgin Media to lead a push by parent Liberty Global to build full fibre broadband lines in smaller British towns and rural areas.
Homeowners rush to remortgage before Brexit
Homeowners have rushed to cash in on reduced interest rates to remortgage throughout June, while buyers have held back amid Brexit uncertainty. According to UK Finance, a total of 16,880 remortgages were agreed, up 8.3% from the same time last year. However, loans to first-time buyers slipped 1.5% to 32,760, and home mover mortgages fell 3.6% to 31,000. Rates are close to record lows and customers are scrambling to lock in these deals.
Proptech start-up raises £9m for expansion
Flatfair has raised £9m from investors such as Index Ventures to expand the team and develop the platform The proptech start-up tries to make it easier for renters to find and pay for accommodation.
Relief as shoppers boost growth
Monthly retail sales rose in July, increasing by 0.2% - defying forecasts for a 0.2% fall. Department stores rose 1.6%, the first increase this year whilst internet sales recorded a 6.9% jump in the month - the biggest rise for three years. Gabriella Dickens, assistant economist at Capital Economics, said: "The rise in retail sales in July was encouraging and supports our view that the economy has picked up in [the third quarter].” Separately, Brexit has been blamed by Asda CEO Roger Burnley for decreased consumer confidence and knocking the chain’s sales in the first half of the year. Elsewhere, ASOS shares fell after analysts warned of further downside risk following last month’s profit warning.