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Credit “favours the biggest” says Bank of England
The Bank of England’s regional Agents report that investment intentions by UK businesses “are consistent with a gradual, rather than robust, pick-up in spending.”
But their September report also points to an “increasingly polarised” credit supply which favours larger corporates over the country’s smaller enterprises.
Credit conditions remain tight, say the Agents, but the lending market became increasingly polarised in recent months. Smaller businesses, and those operating in the construction and property sectors, continued to report difficulty in accessing affordable finance.
“For these businesses, fees and spreads remained significantly higher than pre-crisis levels, and there had been little improvement since the start of the year.
“By contrast, larger businesses and those perceived by banks as stronger propositions, saw a gradual improvement in both the cost and the availability of bank funds through 2010. But those businesses tended to have little appetite for increased bank borrowing, focusing instead on paying down debts and accumulating cash reserves.”
Swedish deal gives Spaniards foothold in Germany
Spanish giant Santander has boosted its European presence with the acquisition of the retail banking division of Swedish bank SEB. The deal includes 173 branches and more than a million customers in Germany, making Santander a major player in Germany’s retail banking market.
“Germany is a core market for Santander. This acquisition is a significant step toward achieving our goal of being a full service retail bank in Europe's largest market,” said Emilio Botín, Chairman of Santander.
The impact of the deal on what is Europe’s leading bank by market capitalisation is expected to be minimal but analysts have hailed the move, which doubles the Spanish bank’s presence in Germany.
Santander has also purchased the 318 UK branches which Royal Bank of Scotland has put up for sale and is thought to be considering expanding its operations in Latin America.
Super online virus empties bank accounts
A new computer virus has enabled cyber criminals to steal thousands of pounds from UK bank accounts. Experts say the ‘trojan’ virus is the most sophisticated they have encountered.
In just one month, approximately £675,000 was removed from unsuspecting customers. The virus empties their accounts and even produces fake statements while doing so, leaving the scam undetected.
Online banking customers are being advised to keep anti-virus software up to date, set firewalls to their highest level and not open email attachments from unknown sources.
None of the major UK high street banks have claimed to have been a victim so far, but M86, a specialist internet security company, believes that one was successfully targeted in July.
Some £59.7m was lost to online banking fraud in 2009, according to Financial Fraud Action UK. A further £440m was lost to credit card fraud and many analysts believe the problem is set to get worse.
Barclays fined for rogue state payments
Barclays has reached a settlement with US investigators which will see it hit with a hefty fine.
The bank had fallen foul of the authorities over payments it facilitated to countries which were the subject of US government sanctions. Both Lloyds and Credit Suisse were similarly investigated and also settled in the last 12 months.
US prosecutors said Barclays had facilitated payments from countries including – but not limited to – Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Burma. The bank declined to comment but revealed that it had set aside around £190m to resolve the investigation.
Banks stress tests are inadequate, claims economist
A leading economist has called for a revision of the stress tests currently employed by banks. John Kay says the tests exist “not to ensure that depositors’ money is safe or that taxpayers will not be called on again, but to reassure banks and their shareholders that they will not be required to provide significant additional capital.”
Describing the current status quo as “shameful”, Mr Kay advocates the adoption of a model whereby a bank must provide guarantees that it could fund itself if implicit or explicit state guarantees of their non-deposit liabilities were withdrawn.
Mr Kay believes that financial regulators have not learned their lesson from previous troubles and have imposed a system which is weak and “self-referential”.
In his opinion, “stress tests should be subjected to stress tests” and claims that this alone would “indicate how far Europe’s banks have progressed in being able to survive without public subsidy”.
Online FX service takes on banks
A new foreign currency service has been launched which is set to challenge the hegemony of high street banks in the area. CurrencyFair is an online person-to-person exchange which matches people who want to sell foreign currency with those who want to buy. It promises a secure and easy service which will eliminate the need for banks, making it easier and cheaper for those customers with foreign currency accounts
“Dramatic rise” in demand for debt plans
A new report has shone a light on the British public’s spending habits during the recession. The 'Consumers' Attitude Towards Debt' report published by leading independent researcher Mintel found that 39% of people interviewed are now more careful when it comes to spending money, citing the recession as a welcome 'wake-up' call.
However, around half of those questioned said the economic downturn had not altered their spending, merely hampered their ability to gain credit for future borrowing.
Debt solutions provider Payplan says it has experienced a dramatic rise in requests from consumers for free debt management plans. Managing director John Fairhurst said: “Demand for debt help in the UK continues to escalate. And while the recession has led to a debt 'detox' for some, for others it has simply served to exacerbate the situation further.”
Inflation could kill off savings accounts
The spiralling cost of living could render savings accounts meaningless, according to new figures. There are currently very few accounts offering savers a real return after tax and inflation. Experts say that if the Consumer Price Index continues to rise as it has been, it would be pointless for the taxpayer to use a savings account to generate any income.
Major financial skills report issued
A new report seeking to address skills issues in the workplace has been published. The Employability Skills Challenge is the result of research by the Financial Services Skills Council and Scottish Investment Operations.
In compiling their findings, the two bodies met with major employers and recruitment agencies to identify the issues they faced when recruiting new talent to the financial services sector. They also spoke with schools and universities to understand perceptions of the financial services sector and its skills requirements.
Banking Insights event
The latest in our popular Banking Insights series, run in association with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, takes place on Tuesday 30 November 2010 with a presentation from Richard Kibble – Partner and Head of FS Strategy at PwC.
Entitled ‘From ubiquity to precision – a future for European banking’, the session will look at how regulation could fundamentally change banking as we know it.
Registration and light breakfast: 8.45-9.00
Presentation and discussion: 9.00-10.30
Location: PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Erskine House, 68-73 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4NH
There is no charge to attend but places are strictly limited and must be booked in advance. Members can book online at www.charteredbanker.com.
Run since 2003, the Banking Insights series provides a unique environment for representatives from financial services organisations to meet and discuss the key issues affecting the industry. Banking Insights continues to take a thought leadership approach in sharing industry insights and practical experiences from a selection of PricewaterhouseCoopers experts.
Financial skills for life
Improving the financial education and skills of young people is a core aim of CIOBS and so we’re delighted with the support recently announced by the European Commission, through its ‘Comenius’ programme. This support means that a new European Financial Education Partnership (EFEP) will be created, in conjunction with partners in 9 European countries, to deliver interactive financial education workshops.
Since its inception 12 years ago, the industry-led FEP, managed by the Institute, has helped some 173,000 children in Scotland to develop their financial skills for life.
Members who have still to pay their annual subscriptions for the 2010/2011 subscription year are requested to forward payment as soon as possible. Payment can be made via the members’ section of the website at www.charteredbanker.com
Are you or do you know a service leaver?
As the Institute is an approved ELCAS provider, service leavers can use ELC funding towards our qualifications from the Professional Banker Certificate through to Chartered Banker. For more information contact Sharon Allan at Sharon@charteredbanker.com or call 0131 473 7776.
Raise your Game!
Thursday 14 October
This is a unique workshop to help you build on your teamwork, performance and leadership skills in an environment where such skills are absolutely critical – but approached in a different way than in business.
The workshop will use models and practical exercises from top-level Rugby and Athletics to help you to re-think what counts in your everyday performance and will present you with a new set of tools that you can take back to the office (part of the Hamish Taylor Skills Exchange Network).
Venue: The Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland, Drumsheugh House, 38b Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh, EH3 7SW
Schedule: Registration 13.30-14.00, Workshop 14.00-17.00
Booking Fee: £100 per person
For more information or to book any of these events, go to www.charteredbanker.com or contact Ashleigh Edmiston on 0131 473 7797 or email: Ashleigh@charteredbanker.com
The Chartered Banker Dinner
28 April 2011
One of the most prestigious corporate events in next year’s calendar is sure to be the Chartered Banker dinner on 28 April 2011 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow. We are delighted to announce that the keynote speech will be delivered by the Rt Hon George Osborne MP, The Chancellor of the Exchequer.
The dinner, which showcases professionalism in the industry, is attended by the Chairmen, Chief Executives and senior management of the banks and other financial services organisations, their guests (representatives of the business community in Scotland) plus many of the Institute’s members – the retail and business bankers providing a vital service to their customers at a very difficult time. We expect that approximately 500 guests will attend the dinner.
Additional details, including ticket prices and booking form, will be available shortly from the events section at www.charteredbanker.com.
For further information or to reserve places, please contact Martin Fishman on 0131 473 7789 or email: email@example.com
Monday 6 December
We are delighted to be offering our popular Positive Leadership workshop in London in conjunction with The Actuarial Profession.
Sometimes it is difficult for us to understand the impact of the way we react to and talk to people. Whether a team leader or a team member, this short, easily-digestible workshop will show you some simple changes you can make to your own behaviour in order to improve the mood of your team, and consequently help you and your colleagues to achieve your full potential.
Our speaker for the evening will be Mike Fiszer, Director of Leadership Development at The Edinburgh Institute of Leadership and Management Practice (EI), recently established by The Business School at Napier University.
Venue: The Actuarial Profession Offices, Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ
Schedule: Registration 17:30-18:00, Presentation 18:00-19:00, Networking Reception 19:00-20:00
Booking Fee: £25.00, which includes tea/coffee on arrival and networking drinks reception.
For more information or online booking details, go to www.charteredbanker.com. Non members should contact Val Bauckham on 0131 473 7777 or firstname.lastname@example.org
We would like to remind members that you should be recording your CPD for 2010 in line with the requirements of the scheme. Further details of the scheme can be found on our website at www.charteredbanker.com/Home/CPD/
Please be aware that we have a range of online CPD material available within the members’ section of the website which can be used to supplement any development activity you are already undertaking through your employer. These resources may be particularly useful to help meet the Professionalism and Ethics requirement of the scheme.
Death of Ian Robertson
We are saddened to hear of the death of Ian Robertson, a Fellow and ex Vice-President of the Institute, and one of the Bank of Scotland's longest-serving senior executives who retired in 2007 after 36 years’ service.
Born in Edinburgh on 30 March 1949, he died in the city on 30 August 2010, aged 61.
A graduate of Aberdeen and Strathclyde Universities, Ian spent much of his time with the Bank in its corporate and property departments. He rose to become managing director of the corporate banking division with Bank of Scotland and HBoS.
Ian devoted his all too brief retirement to his work with the Princess Royal Trust for Carers (PRTC). His talents as a fund raiser, worker and strong supporter of the caring community were such that the Princess Royal was represented at his funeral at Morton Hall crematorium.
Our condolences go to Ian’s family and former colleagues.
The official CIOBS LinkedIn Group “Chartered Banker” continues to grow. If you haven’t already, then why not join up now at www.linkedin.com by doing a group search on “Chartered Banker”? As we are still at the early stages of developing the group, if you have any suggestions or ideas, please email:email@example.com
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Chartered Banker - the premier qualification for professionals in financial services
Chartered Banker is the most prestigous qualification in the world for bankers and financial professionals.
Specialised Certificate Level Courses - dedicated learning for all levels of experience.
Professional advancement across selected areas of expertise in key banking and financial services sectors.
Specialised Diploma Courses - qualifications of choice for individuals and organisations.
Market-leading knowledge and skills across the banking and financial services industry.
Diploma in Financial Services - a measure of advanced professionalism.
A comprehensive qualification universally recognised as a sign of enhanced tactical expertise.
Regulatory Qualifications Framework - delivering accredited expertise
Qualifications to meet compliance requirements and advanced professional and ethical standards.
We need to make sure our people have the opportunities to learn and qualify right across the full range of disciplines.
Graeme Hartop, Managing Director, Scottish Widows Bank
The Chartered Banker programme provides broad, flexible skill sets and a wide range of ways to achieve the qualification.
Philip Grant, Managing Director, UK Private Banking at Lloyds Banking Group
“The syllabus is very good for the banking industry.It fully recognises the changes in the way financial services are put together and the skills and expertise that are required.”
“We rely on the broad range of skills that the Institute provides.”
Jim Lindsay, General Manager, Airdrie Savings Bank