In your pocket in just three years, the plastic £5 note


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In your pocket in just three years, the plastic £5 note

Ailing Irish property market signals trouble ahead for RBS
The declining state of the Irish property market will cause an “awful lot of pain” for Royal Bank of Scotland, with 60 per cent of its mortgages in arrears, according to an analyst’s report. According to Investec, RBS is paying for reckless lending at the height of the boom that preceded the Irish property price crash. About 60 per cent of RBS’s £18.9 billion Irish mortgage portfolio is in negative equity, while 38 per cent of mortgages have a current loan-to-value in excess of 130 per cent.
The Times, p. 37

Barclays denies U.S. charge of illicit electricity trading
Barclays Bank has denied that it manipulated electricity markets and said in a tersely worded regulatory filing that the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s case, and proposed record penalties, would not hold up in court. In a filing made late on Friday, Barclays rejected the commission’s charge that its traders took losses in the electricity market, which allowed it to make gains on other financial positions. The commission has proposed fines totalling $470 million.
International Herald Tribune, p. 18
Also appeared in : The Times, p.34

New banks gain foothold but there’s no sign of a revolution
The Financial Services Authority has handed out 24 new banking licences since 2008, including to 19 institutions entering the UK banking market for the first time. The City is full of rumours that there are plenty more to come, particularly from China and India, whose leading banks already have some operations in Britain and want to expand into retail banking. However, many wonder what has really changed. The UK’s five biggest banks – Lloyds, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Santander – control 85 per cent of current accounts, which are the mainstay of customers’ relationship with lenders, according to a Mintel report in October.
The Times, p. 32-33

RBS ‘set to agree £350m payment for Libor scandal’
RBS and US and UK regulators are near to closing a £350m settlement over the Libor-fixing scandal, according to reports.
The Independent, p. 48

Banks in UK face threat of forced break-up
British banks are facing the threat of a break-up if they fail to comply with the proposed ring-fencing of their retail operations as UK lawmakers ponder ways to exert more pressure.
This abstract from the Financial Times was produced by Kantar Media
Financial Times Companies and Markets, p. 20

Peer-to-peer lending boom could make banks obsolete
Andrew Haldane, a director of financial stability for the bank of England, states that the rise of peer-to-peer lenders such as Zopa and Funding Circle will challenge the nation’s major financial institutions. Mr Haldane also held out hopes that the fledgling revolution could tackle the crisis in business lending.
The Independent, p. 1-2

Bank supremo: Peer-to-peer lending is a good reason to be cheerful
Margareta Pagano interviews Andy Haldane, director of financial stability at the Bank of England.
The Independent, p. 48

World Bank tightens net on companies that pay bribes to secure work overseas
More than 100 companies, including several British multinationals, are being investigated by the World Bank for allegedly paying bribes to win work on development projects. The companies face the prospect of being blacklisted from working on World Bank-financed projects if they are found to have engaged in corrupt activity. The World Bank and the SFO recently worked in parallel on cases against the British publishers Macmillan and Oxford University Press, which were accused of paying bribes to win education contracts in East Africa.
The Times, p. 37

Banks face more radical reform than ring-fencing
In its report on Friday, the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards is expected to demand legislation that would allow the banks to be broken up, rather than just ring-fenced.
The Daily Telegraph Business, p. 1

In your pocket in just three years, the plastic £5 note
Plastic bank notes are to be introduced in Britain, replacing the paper money used for more than 300 years.
Daily Mail, p. 5

The above articles appeared on 17/12/12 reproduced with the kind permission of Kantar Media UK. All rights reserved.

Charterbridge Private Financial Planning, Independent Financial Advice, Thornbury, Bristol.