Bank closures hit elderly hardest
The consumer organisation Which? has warned that lower income households and older generations will be hardest hit as bank branch and ATM closures threaten to restrict their access to cash. Which? found that 80% of the elderly are reliant on cash for shopping and to pay bills, and they use it at least two to three times a week. Meanwhile, 78% of people in the two lowest household income groups also run their homes using cash. Gareth Shaw from Which? said: “Widespread ATM and branch closures are threatening to leave behind the millions who still rely on cash and our research highlights lower income families and older generations will be among the worst hit.”
CYBG shares slide after bearish broker update
Shares in CYBG have fallen to a three-month low ahead of its takeover of Virgin Money after analysts raised doubts over the combined challenger bank’s attempt to break the dominance of Britain’s big four lenders. UBS’s Charmsol Yoon argued that the combined bank will still face "tough" market conditions and loan growth will "continue to be weak" as it struggles to meet the firepower of its bigger rivals. Shares in CYBG fell 11.4p to 308.2p, a 3.6% slide, while Virgin Money was down 12.9p at 367.7p.
British banks shudder at Goldman Marcus launch
The FT’s Stephen Morris reflects on the launch of Goldman Sachs’s new online-only consumer bank Marcus into the UK. He says Marcus will give its more established rivals some concerns over keeping customers. Meanwhile, the Mail notes that savers who apply for a new Marcus account are being asked for details of their salary and their occupation. At present banks are not required to ask for these details by rules laid down by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Battle to attract customers heats up
The Yorkshire Post highlights a number of new offers from banks to attract new current account customers. NatWest is offering £125 to new and existing customers switching their main bank account, while Barclays has said that customers who switch to it using the current account switch service before November 14 will get double Barclays blue rewards for 12 months, receiving up to £30 a month or £360 over the year.
Contenders vie for RBS handouts
Katherine Griffiths in the Times ponders how the Banking Competition Remedies will divvy up the £775m fund from RBS to help boost competition in the business banking market. She notes that applications for the biggest pool of cash, which will be divided into grants of £120m, £100m and £60m, must be submitted in November. The final awards will then be made next summer.
Metro Bank sets up new banker apprenticeship
Metro Bank has launched a new apprenticeship for bankers as it tries to claim back more of the cash paid out to the apprenticeship levy. The new apprenticeship, an MSc in retail and digital banking in partnership with Cranfield School of Management, will run with 30 Metro Bank staff this year.
Eurozone faces fresh debt threat
Matteo Salvini, the deputy PM of Italy, has threatened to sue Jean-Claude Juncker for damages, accusing the EU president of pushing up Rome’s cost of borrowing by likening Italy to Greece. He was speaking after comments from Juncker helped send the yield on Italian benchmark bonds to a four-and-a-half year high of 3.4%. The tensions emerged as it became clear that the eurozone may face a further confrontation with Greece in the coming months. Greek spending plans ahead of elections next year highlight a reversal on promised pensions cuts.
Fed plans to ease rules for big US banks
Randal Quarles, the Federal Reserve’s vice-chairman for supervision, has said the central bank is planning to lighten the regulatory burden on large US banks. However, foreign banks will not see any regulatory changes.
StanChart faces potential new $1.5bn Iran fine
Standard Chartered is facing fines in the region of $1.5bn from US regulators over alleged sanctions breaches in its dealings with Iran-based clients.
BNP Paribas promotes investment banker Yann Gerardin to deputy COO
Yann Gerardin, BNP Paribas' veteran head of corporate and institutional banking, has been promoted to deputy chief operating officer, after Alain Papiasse was promoted to division chairman.
Australian regulator to probe foreign exchange services fees
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is set to investigate “excessive” charges for currency conversions and overseas use of credit cards.
Natixis eyes stakes in boutique investment banks
François Riahi, the new CEO of French bank Natixis, has said he is looking to buy more majority stakes in boutique investment banks.
Car manufacturers speak out over no-deal Brexit repercussions
Leading car manufacturers have warned that a no-deal Brexit could “seriously impact” UK vehicle production. Toyota boss Johan van Zyl cautioned that should the firm be unable to sell into the EU market duty free it will hit UK operations, while Harald Krueger, chief executive of BMW, said his company would shift more of the production of its Mini model to the Netherlands if the UK leaves without a deal. Vauxhall-owner PSA Group warned that the loss of customs barriers and freedom of movement from a no-deal Brexit would hit the French carmaker. Meanwhile, Ralf Speth, chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover, which builds nearly a third of Britain's roughly 1.67m cars, revealed that his firm is talking to warehousing companies about plans to stockpile parts to meet any supply chain disruption and urged the government to ensure the right infrastructure remains in place in Britain.
Tesla production reaches all-time high
Tesla has said it produced a record number of vehicles in the most recent quarter, erasing doubts about the firm's ability to boost manufacturing. The electric carmaker said it made more than 80,000 vehicles, including more than 53,000 of the Model 3 - roughly in line with forecasts.
CAA rules out rescue of Primera Air
The Civil Aviation Authority has said it will not intervene to bring British passengers home following the collapse of the Danish airline Primera Air. Jeanine Arnold, an airlines analyst at Moody's, said the airline’s collapse was "yet more evidence of the challenges faced by European airlines, namely strong competition and increasing fuel prices".
British construction slows to six-month low
British construction sector output in September slowed to its lowest level in six months, according to IHS Markit's latest construction purchasing managers' index, which fell to 52.1 points from 52.9 in August. Momentum slowed in house building and commercial construction, though the rate of new order growth increased to its strongest since December 2016. Max Jones, a global corporates relationship director at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said firms are holding steady on pricing but risks around commercial building in particular are heightened.
City watchdog rejects calls post-Brexit financial deregulation
Charles Randell, chair of the Financial Conduct Authority, has asserted that the regulator will not engage in a “race to the bottom” to preserve the UK’s position as a global financial centre after Brexit - chiding calls for deregulation. “Strong global standards also reinforce the competitiveness of the UK financial services sector,” he said. A recent report by the Institute of Economic Affairs called for “improving the way regulations are made to better support competitive markets”, calling EU regulations a “major threat to the UK economy”.
Blackstone completes deal for Thomson Reuters unit
Blackstone has completed its biggest investment since 2008 by taking over Thomson Reuters' financial and risk unit. The deal, which values the business at around $20bn, will see the Blackstone-led consortium of private equity funds take a 55% stake in the company, which will be renamed as Refinitiv. David Craig, chief executive of Refinitiv, said the group would now spend money to take on market leader Bloomberg
LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY
Revolution Bars eyeing Ibiza
Revolution Bars’ new boss Rob Pitcher is seeking inspiration from Ibiza’s party scene in a bit to revive the chain. Revolution has revealed a pre-tax loss of £3.6m in the year to June, down from a profit of £5.2m, after a tough trading climate and the bidding war between pubs group Stonegate and nightclubs operator Deltic.
Eurozone manufacturers face squeeze as costs rise amid falling exports
Eurozone producer prices rose 0.3% between August and July, leaving manufacturers faced with a double whammy of rising costs and falling export sales.
MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT
Google advertising head moves on
Google's head of advertising, Sridhar Ramaswamy, is stepping down after 15 years with the company to join Greylock Partners. He will be replaced by Prabhakar Raghavan, who was former vice president of engineering for Google's Cloud apps.
UK house prices grew in September
UK house prices grew 2% year on year for September, Nationwide has said, up 0.3% from August to September to an average of £214,922. England had the slowest rate of annual growth, at 1.4% for the quarter, with Northern Ireland up 4.3%, and Scotland and Wales’ growth rates slowing 2.1% and 3.3%, respectively, while London house prices fell 0.7% year-on-year to £468,544 for September. Nationwide's chief economist, Robert Gardner, said: “Subdued economic activity and ongoing pressure on household budgets are likely to continue to exert a modest drag on housing market activity and house price growth this year, though borrowing costs are likely to remain low.”
Amazon raises minimum wage in UK and US
Amazon has raised its minimum wage for workers in the UK and the US following criticism that its staffing was being subsidised by state welfare while politicians on both sides of the Atlantic have accused the company of paying too little tax. In the UK 40,000 permanent and temporary staff will get an increase to £10.50 an hour in London and £9.50 across the rest of the country - a rise of up to 28%.
UK businesses dismissive of immigration plans
Businesses across the UK have strongly rejected the government’s latest proposals to cut “low-skilled” immigration after Brexit, arguing that the changes would mean price hikes leading to lower standards of living. The reaction came after Sajid Javid confirmed that EU and non-EU migrants will be treated the same after Brexit. In response, Mr Javid told firms to wean themselves off cheap foreign labour.
CEOs need to spend more time on the front line
Writing in City AM, Peter Nixon, the managing director of Philip Morris Limited in UK and Ireland, says business leaders should get out of meetings and have more direct interaction with their consumers. He cites a recent study which found that 80% of consumers stated that the average brand doesn’t understand them, indicating “a worrying disconnect in business” Nixon says. The simple solution he asserts, is that CEOs “should step out of the boardroom and spend more time with the troops on the front line.”
Courses to beat AI to City jobs
London-based fintech start-up Finito claims it can coach candidates to beat AI tasks in job interviews - for £9,000. While firms including Goldman Sachs and Unilever are increasingly using artificial intelligence (AI) software like HireVue, which scans for emotion and expressions, to weed out mediocre candidates - applicants themselves are prepared to pay dearly to beat the tests.