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Daily News Roundup: Wednesday, 12th June 2019

Posted: 12th June 2019


Millions hit by card glitches

Research by Which? suggests more than 7m people have been left unable to use their payment card due to IT glitches in the past year. One in seven people surveyed for the consumer group could not use their debit or credit card due to an outage - equating to 7.3m people if the figures were projected across the UK. Furthermore, one in 20 of those surveyed experienced the problem more than once. And one in ten of those unable to use their card said they had suffered a financial penalty as a result or said their credit score was damaged. Meanwhile, banks have pledged to protect notes and coins amid increasing concerns that Britain is at risk of becoming a cashless society. UK Finance has set up a taskforce, called the Joint Authorities Cash Strategy Group, to ensure cash is kept available to the millions who depend on it. It will work with the Treasury, Bank of England and regulators to locate gaps in the country's access to cash - such as towns with a shortage of ATMs, branches or Post Offices.

TSB to offer digital expertise to SMEs

TSB has launched a nationwide programme to improve the digital expertise of small business owners. The scheme, which will offer advice through digital experts in branches around the UK, follows a pilot started by the bank with Enterprise Nation last year.

Sainsbury’s chooses Brown to head banking unit

Sainsbury’s has appointed former RBS man Jim Brown as chief executive of its banking unit as it looks to build its online presence. He will take over the reins at Sainsbury’s Bank from outgoing chief executive Peter Griffiths next Wednesday. The bank handles Sainsbury’s Bank customers, as well as Argos Financial Services and Nectar.

Automation can help banks entice young talent

The Times’ Katharine Griffiths suggests the banking industry is more likely to attract young talent if it embraces technology and automation, thereby enabling employees to focus on more creative work.


Deutsche Bank threatens to axe 1,000 clients in compliance push

As banks work toward meeting strengthened anti-money laundering rules, Deutsche Bank has warned hundreds of corporate clients that a lack of documentation verifying their identity could restrict their access to basic banking services.

Citi finance chief warns of double digit drop in Q2 investment bank revenues

Citigroup’s CFO Mark Mason has said the lender’s trading and investment banking businesses will see declines in revenues in Q2, but its wider institutional and retail banking businesses continue to see growth.

Europe’s banking watchdog warns on wave of dirty money

José Manuel Campa, head of the European Banking Authority, has warned that a mandate and powers given to the banking watchdog may not be enough to tackle money laundering.


Dealers slash new car prices

Dealers are offering discounts of almost 25% on new cars in a bid to try to drive up sales during a Brexit slump in the motor industry. What Car? magazine said that at the end of May the average discount on a new car was £2,595 with some dealers taking as much as 24.6% off the usual manufacturer price.


Brexit bites into Crest Nicholson's profits

Brexit's hold on house prices across the south of England has resulted in Crest Nicholson posting declining profits. Though revenue was £501.9m, up 7% on half-year 2018, profit before tax fell 11% to £64.4m.

Bellway reveals robust performance

Bellway has posted strong sales growth just hours after a fire tore through its Barking Estate development. The housebuilder posted a 4.7% rise in reservations over the period from February 1 to June 2, to 244 per week.


Woodford should waive fees on suspended fund – FCA chief

Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has called on Neil Woodford to waive his £100,000-per-day management fees after his flagship Equity Income Fund was suspended last week, blocking customer withdrawals. Mr Bailey’s call follows a similar request from Nicky Morgan, chair of the House of Commons Treasury Committee. Mr Bailey also told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Mr Woodford’s “job now is to get this fund back into a position where there can be orderly trading.” Meanwhile, the FCA and MPs on the Treasury Select Committee are scrutinising Hargreaves Lansdown’s commercial relationship with Woodford’s fund. Separately, the FT reports that the board of Woodford Patient Capital Trust has held discussions with its broker Winterflood Securities about terminating its contract with Mr Woodford.

Saga shares boosted by Goldman Sachs tie-up

Saga’s share price rose in early trading yesterday on the news that it is partnering with Goldman Sachs to offer savings products to its clients. Saga said it will launch new products with Goldman’s retail banking offering, Marcus, from autumn 2019.

Lloyd’s insurer investigates harassment claims

Tokio Marine Kiln, one of Lloyd’s of London’s leading insurance firms, is investigating claims that two executives harassed colleagues. Both executives have resigned in the wake of the allegations. Lloyd’s produced an action plan in March to address reports of sexual harassment of women at the marketplace, which states that individuals with “a case to answer” would “be subject to sanctions” from both their own companies and Lloyd’s.


UK manufacturing sector larger than official figures suggest

Britain's manufacturing sector is much larger than official figures suggest, according to a report by Cambridge University for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Official statistics estimate that manufacturing output accounts for 9% of national income, but the report found the proportion of GDP accounted for by the sector was nearer 15% once activities tied to sales of UK products, such as engineering support and contracted services, were included.

EU blocks Tata-Thyssenkrupp merger

Brussels’ anti-trust regulators have blocked the planned merger of Tata and Thyssenkrupp. The EU vetoed the deal saying that it would have reduced competition and likely led to higher prices for customers, singling out as areas of concern supplies of steel packaging such as cans and the metal's use in the car industry.


Channel 4's digital push paying off

Channel 4's increasing focus on digital viewing amid a “challenging” economic environment has resulted in modest improvements. The broadcaster reported a 1.5% rise in revenue to £975m in 2018, on the back of record digital revenues which offset a decline in traditional viewing.


Mortgage lending grows in solid start to the year

The value of new mortgage commitments rose 4.5% on a year earlier to £63.8bn in the first quarter, according to the Bank of England’s latest mortgage lenders data, which indicated that the outstanding value of all residential mortgage loans rose to £1.45bn - a 3.4% rise on last year. Despite the Prudential Regulation Authority airing concerns over “risky lending,” mortgage loans with a loan to value (LTV) ratio of more than 90% increased to 4.5%, compared with 3.3% the previous year.

Equity release mortgages cheapest in 12 years

The average rate for equity release mortgages has fallen to less than 5% for the first time since 2007, according to comparison site Moneyfacts. The average equity release rate for fixed and variable rate mortgages is now 4.99%, down from 6.11% five years ago. There are 207 lifetime equity release deals available, up from 164 a year ago and 48 five years ago.


Sports Direct challenges Debenhams turnaround

Mike Ashley's Sports Direct has launched a last-minute legal challenge to Debenhams' restructuring plans. Debenhams rejected two last-ditch takeover offers from Sports Direct before the keys to its shops were handed over to its lenders. Now Sports Direct has turned to the courts in a bid to overturn a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) that would see Debenhams closing 50 stores.


Wages up amid record UK unemployment low

The UK unemployment rate held its near-record low of 3.8% in the three months to April, according to statistics from the Office for National Statistics, as the jobs market brushed off the continuing Brexit uncertainty. Wages rose 3.4% in the quarter and Britain’s unemployment rate has not been lower since the end of 1974. ONS deputy head of labour market statistics Matt Hughes said: “With employment growth among women coming from full-timers, the overall gap between men and women in hours worked is now the lowest ever.”

BoE deputy expects interest rates to rise

Deputy Bank of England governor, Ben Broadbent has said the UK remains on track to raise interest rates several times over the next couple of years, despite a global slowdown in trade and the likelihood of falling interest rates in the US.

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