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Daily News Roundup: Friday, 19th July 2019

Posted: 19th July 2019


Demand for mortgages accelerated in second quarter

Demand for mortgages rose significantly in the second quarter of the year in a sign that the housing market is holding firm amid Brexit uncertainty, according to the Bank of England. In its latest credit conditions survey, a balance of 29.3% of lenders said that demand for mortgages had risen in the past year, compared with 1.8% in the first quarter. Economists said that the figures indicated the avoidance of a disruptive Brexit at the end of March may have provided a boost to housing market activity.

Card borrowers struggling

Data from the Bank of England shows that credit card companies have been hit by a further spike in customers struggling to pay their bills. A net 25% of lenders said they had seen a rise in borrowers failing to pay back what they owe in the second quarter of 2019. The UK's debt outstanding on cards is £72.9bn, a rise of 38% since 2009.

TSB launches new banking selfie app

TSB has launched a new facial recognition app which allow customers to open a current account using a selfie and without the need to visit a branch. The move is designed to speed up the time needed to open a new account remotely, while providing the latest cutting-edge technology to combat fraud.

Santander picks Leeds for UK Work Café

Santander has chosen Leeds as the location for its first UK Work Café, an initiative which aims to boost the economy by supporting the growth of local firms. Alongside banking facilities, the Work Café will offer free coworking spaces and meeting rooms for local businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as fast and secure free Wi-Fi.

Hulme promoted at Lloyds

Andy Hulme has been appointed as co-head of Lloyds Bank's Real Estate and Housing (RE&H) alongside Madeleine McDougall, who has successfully led the business since 2017.


Morgan Stanley boosted by wealth management arm

Morgan Stanley has posted earnings of $2.2bn (£1.76bn) for the last three months - trumping Wall Street estimates. The firm’s wealth management arm clocked a 7% rise in pre-tax profits compared with the year prior, while net revenues in investment management soared 21%. Overall sales and trading revenue dipped 12% however, as bond and equity trading both endured slow growth.

Danske Bank misses expectations

Danske Bank failed to hit expectations for the second quarter of 2019, as low interest rates and costs from its Estonian money laundering scandal hit hard. The European banking giant posted pre-tax profits of 4.76bn Danish crowns (£576m) for the three months to the end of June, down 13% from the same period last year.

National Australia Bank appoints RBS head Ross McEwan to top job

Ross McEwan, the former CEO of RBS, has been appointed as the new chief executive of the embattled National Australia Bank.


BMW names Oliver Zipse as new CEO

Oliver Zipse has been named as the next CEO of BMW. He is currently head of production and will replace Harald Krüger next month.


Ryanair lieutenant takes off for easyJet

Quarterly revenue at easyJet came in at more than a tenth higher at £1.8bn, meaning full-year profit before tax is expected to be between £400m and £440m. In a trading update, EasyJet also revealed that it had poached one of Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary’s top lieutenants - chief operations officer Peter Bellew is moving to a similar role at easyJet.

Boeing takes $4.9bn hit on grounded planes

Boeing is to set aside $4.9bn to compensate airlines for the disruption caused by the worldwide grounding of its 737 Max jet. The plane maker said that the provision would slash its pre-tax profits by $5.6bn in the second quarter, when results are published next week.

Heathrow delays hit BA

Passengers faced major disruption at Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 on Thursday morning after a baggage system issue caused hours of delays. Heathrow blamed British Airways (BA), while BA blamed the airport.


Global watchdog hits back at Bank of England over funds debate

The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) has defended international rules over investment funds after Mark Carney said earlier attempts to tighten the rules were not detailed enough. IOSCO said rules it set out last year provided “a comprehensive framework for regulators to deal with liquidity risks in investment funds”. It added that it was up to national watchdogs to enforce the rules. The securities watchdog also pledged to reassess how its recommendations were being implemented next year.

Irish regulator probes 182 potential ‘closet tracker’ funds

Ireland's financial regulator has flagged 182 potential “closet-indexers”, whereby fund managers assert active management but often rely on benchmark figures. Critics claims that such practices amount to mis-selling.

G7 warns on ‘serious risks’ posed by Libra and other digital coins

G7 finance ministers have warned that digital currencies like Facebook’s Libra must be held “to the highest standards” to protect against money laundering and ensure that users are protected.

FNZ snaps up software firm

Edinburgh-based FNZ Group has acquired JHC, a provider of technology to wealth managers including AJ Bell and Alliance Savings Trust, for an undisclosed sum.


Stonegate to buy Ei in £3bn deal

Pubs giant Stonegate, which owns bar chains Slug & Lettuce and Walkabout, is to buy Ei - the 4,000-strong pub group formerly known as Enterprise Inns. The deal by Stonegate, which is owned by private equity firm TDR, values Ei at almost £3bn.


Vodafone’s Liberty Global acquisition cleared

EU regulators have cleared Vodafone's proposed $22bn (£17.6bn) takeover of Liberty Global assets - on the condition that Vodafone honours certain commitments. The deal will see Vodafone take control of Liberty’s cable networks in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.


New regulator proposed for property agents

The formation of a new regulator that would oversee a new regime for all property agents has been suggested by the Regulation of Property Agents working party, which will be held responsible for a statutory code of practice, and to devise a syllabus for a modular approach to the qualifications which will be required for letting and estate agents.


Second-hand stores drive retail sales

According to the Office for National Statistics, retail sales volumes rose by 1% in June, up from a fall of 0.3% in May, thanks to a boost in sales of second-hand goods at charity shops and antique dealers. Non-food stores contributed 1.6% to annual growth, while second-hand stores made the largest contribution to the non-food category, with sales increased by 92.9% in the year to June. Clothes sales staged a partial recovery, rising 1.2% following May’s 3.8% drop, as consumers flocked to summer sales in June, however, department stores continued to struggle, with sales falling by 0.4%, their sixth consecutive month-on-month decline.

Debenhams seeking further £50m from lenders

Debenhams is preparing to ask lenders for a further £50m, in addition to a £200m facility secured in March, which has not yet been fully drawn down. Debenhams believes that its lenders remain supportive of a restructuring plan agreed earlier this year, which will see approximately 50 of its 166 UK stores shuttered, with the first round of 22 closures planned for next year.


OBR hits out at Hammond

The Office for Budget Responsibility’s latest fiscal risks report has warned that policy risks to the public finances in the medium term “are significant and look greater than they were two years ago”, suggesting that Chancellor Philip Hammond’s recent statements show he “has all but abandoned the Government’s legislated objective to balance the budget by the mid-2020s.” The report, also criticises Conservative leadership contenders for making “a series of un-costed proposals for tax cuts and spending increases”. It warns that “additional tax cuts or spending increases would push government borrowing and debt up from the levels expected in our forecasts and that there is no war-chest or pot of money set aside that would make them a free lunch.”


Brexit deterring top candidates from BoE job

Janet Yellen, the former chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, and Raghuram Rajan, the former governor of the Indian central bank, have reportedly been deterred from applying for the job as governor of the Bank of England because of the political turmoil caused by Brexit.

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