Rankings reveal banking recommendations
A new official ranking of the country’s largest banks by the Competition and Markets Authority has named RBS as the least popular bank in the UK, followed by Clydesdale Bank. First Direct and Metro Bank were named as the most popular providers, followed by Nationwide. Customers were asked how likely would be recommend their bank on a number of measures, such as overall customer service, online and mobile banking, overdrafts and services in branches. Handelsbanken UK is top among SMEs for satisfaction, with 90% of their SME customers saying they would recommend the bank for relationship management. Banks will have to highlight the findings, with posters in branches detailing the rankings.
Banks saw 64 payment outages in Q2
New Financial Conduct Authority rules which require banks to disclose payment service outages caused by cyber-attacks or other disruptions have seen Britain's five biggest banks reveal they had a total of 64 security or operational incidents that hit telephone, mobile or online banking services in the second quarter of 2018. Lloyds Banking Group had 19, Barclays reported 18, RBS 16 and HSBC saw seven, while Santander UK reported four. TSB saw seven, while smaller banks Virgin Money, CYBG and Metro Bank reported no incidents. The Co-operative Bank and Nationwide Building Society each disclosed two.
MPs secure transparency for Co-op inquiry
The Treasury and the Bank of England (BoE) have agreed to change the framework for an independent review into the way the Co-operative Bank ran up a £1.5bn shortfall after the Treasury select committee raised concerns over transparency. Nicky Morgan, chairwoman of the committee, has secured a promise from the BoE’s Prudential Regulation Authority that it will not ask to see transcripts of interviews between the independent investigator Mark Zelmer and Bank officials, while the Government has pledged that no legally privileged information will be withheld by the Treasury.
TSB to double complaints team to handle fallout from IT fiasco
TSB is doubling its customer service staff to up to 500 to help tackle a backlog of complaints caused by its IT meltdown earlier this year. It will recruit and train extra complaint-handlers to help meet a backlog of over 85,000 unresolved complaints, as of July 25. The bank is also paying IBM to help repair its IT systems.
RBS knowingly sold ‘garbage’ mortgages
Emails unearthed by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) show that RBS deliberately sold packages of “total garbage” mortgages to investors, with it shown that bankers were aware this could damage the US housing market. Internal emails sent between RBS bankers between 2005 and 2008 have been published as part of the £3.9bn settlement between RBS and the DoJ. One exchange saw RBS’s chief credit officer in the US describe some of the loans as “garbage”.
RBS’ hard Brexit fears
RBS chief executive Ross McEwan has said the bank could be set to transfer corporate clients to its Amsterdam office because a hard Brexit now appeared more likely, saying that if there is no detailed Brexit plan by March “tens of billions of pounds” could be moved to Amsterdam. MP Andrew Bridgen has spoken out over the comments, saying that as the bank remains almost two-thirds state-owned, “the British government and the British people should expect more loyalty.” RBS officials said Mr McEwan was talking about a small number of Western European corporate customers with complex, cross-border products.
European M&A activity at 11-year high
Analysis by Thomson Reuters shows that UK private equity-backed acquisitions in Europe are at an 11-year high, hitting £11.33bn. Figures show that 82.7% of UK private equity-backed acquisitions this year have been in Europe, with 17.3% within the UK.
German open-banking start-up raises $100m
Hamburg-based open-banking start-up Deposit Solutions has raised $100m in a financing round led by Munich-based private equity group Vitruvian Partners that values the company at more than $500m.
Aussie regulator scolds NAB over fees
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is investigating "suspected offending" by National Australia Bank (NAB) over charging fees for no service. "NAB's failure to provide ongoing services while continuing to charge clients fees for those services was widespread and affected a large number of clients over a period of many years," ASIC says.
Currency pressure forces Hong Kong and Indonesia into action
Financial turmoil in Turkey has heightened pressure on Asian currencies, prompting the central bank in Indonesia to increase its benchmark lending rate, while Hong Kong’s central bank sold $575m of reserves to buy HK$4.5bn.
Berkshire ups its Goldman stake
Berkshire Hathaway owns almost $3bn in stock in Goldman Sachs after increasing its stake by 21% in the second quarter.
Balfour Beatty profits quadruple
Despite dipping revenues and a £44m hit as a result of the Carillion collapse, Balfour Beatty has seen its profits quadruple from £12m to £50m for the six months to the end of June. The firm's underlying profit from operations rose to £66m from £39m, while its order book increased from £11.4bn to £12.6bn.
Admiral motors to higher profits
Admiral, the motor insurance group, has reported a 9% rise in pre-tax profits to £211m. Turnover rose by 14.5% to £1.7bn as the Cardiff-based group sold more policies in the UK.
GSK sees positive signs from trials of reduced HIV treatment
GlaxoSmithKline’s majority-owned ViiV Healthcare unit has said that long-action injection, given once a month, has proved as effective as standard daily pills for controlling the AIDS virus.
MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT
Condé Nast to merge US and international teams producing Traveller
Condé Nast is to integrate the international and US teams that produce popular title Condé Nast Traveller, with the publication to be “overseen” from London from January.
Southern slump stunts UK house price growth
House price growth slowed to its lowest annual rate in five years in June, driven by the slowdown in the south and east of England, especially in London. Average UK house prices increased 3% in the year to June, down from 3.5% in May, according to the Office for National Statistics, which said the average price of a UK home was now £228,000. While private rents in London fell 0.3% in the year to July, they rose 0.9% in Britain as a whole - up 0.9% in England, 1% in Wales and 0.5% in Scotland.
Wesfarmers hit by botched Homebase takeover
Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers has suffered a near-£800m hit from the sale of Homebase, with net profit down 58% to A$1.2bn in the year ending in June. Wesfarmers snapped up Homebase in 2016 in a £340m deal and attempted to relaunch it by rebranding the chain as Bunnings. However, after seeing a £210m loss, it sold the chain for £1, suffering £584m worth of write offs and charges.
UK inflation rate rises
UK inflation rose to 2.5% in July, after holding steady at 2.4% in the previous three months as the cost of transport and computer games increased. It was the first jump in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure since November and was in line with forecasts. Meanwhile, the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation fell to 3.2%. Tej Parikh, senior economist at the Institute of Directors, said the rise in inflation showed the cost of living squeeze was not yet a thing of the past.