What made the nationals: sponsored by PressChoice
British banks body bows out of Libor
By Brooke Masters, Chief Regulation Correspondent
Government regulation of a cornerstone of financial markets has moved closer after the British Bankers’s Association agreed to surrender its decades-long role in overseeing Libor, the scandal-riven global benchmark for borrowing costs.
The move came at the request of UK officials who plan to announce a new regulatory structure for the rate-setting process as part of a package of reforms due to be announced on Friday.. The rates serve as benchmarks for everything from US home mortgages to complex derivatives transactions worth billions of dollars.
Better-off pensioners should be stripped of taxpayer-funded benefits, says Nick Clegg
By Robert Winnett and Tim Ross
The Deputy Prime Minister said giving free television licences, winter fuel payments and free bus passes to everyone was increasingly “difficult to explain”.
He called on well-off pensioners to help “make ends meet” by surrendering the handouts, warning it was not fair that Lord Sugar, the tycoon, for example, should be entitled to receive state assistance.
Upbeat Hester says RBS is reaching recovery point
By Julian Knight
The chief executive of part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland says it is nearing the point of becoming “recovered”, and will complete a major restructuring by next year.
The bank, which is 81 per cent-owned by the taxpayer following its near-collapse in 2008, has been selling businesses and scaling back its investment banking operation in an attempt to become profitable once again. In a banking and insurance conference in London, chief executive Stephen Hester gave his most upbeat assessment yet of the bank’s prospects.
Taxpayers will get RBS cash back after next year, says Stephen Hester
By Tom Peterkin
The payments would include all those who hold ordinary shares. The UK government, which paid £45 billion to keep the bank afloat, holds 67 per cent of ordinary shares.
Mr Hester’s speech at Merrill Lynch’s annual conference for bank bosses was the first time he has given an indication of the timetable for paying back the billions of pounds RBS owes taxpayers.
Cashing in on the stock market
By Esther Shaw
Savers are being advised to look past current volatility and consider putting spare cash into the stock market, as new research shows those who shunned it over the last 10 years have missed the chance to double their money.
This is according to online investing community the Motley Fool, which found that £1,000 invested in equities 10 years ago would be worth £2,023 today, compared with just £1,127 in a typical savings account.
Debts hit home: Cash-strapped Brits are paying off debts rather than buying houses
Cash-strapped householders are paying off debts rather than buying homes – which is depressing market values.
Mortgage approvals fell 13% to 30,533 in August, against 35,211 a year ago, as people cashed in on record-low interest rates to repay existing home loans and other debt, data from the British Banking Association showed.
Small firms still being crippled by lending drought, says Bank of England director
By Becky Barrow
Small businesses are still being crippled by the banking industry’s refusal to lend, more than five years after the credit crunch began, the Bank of England said yesterday.
Paul Fisher, a leading director of the bank, added that even those firms which managed to get loans faced a long wait, a ‘bureaucratic’ nightmare and ‘onerous’ terms to get money.
Funding For Lending Has ‘Encouraging Start’
The Bank of England (BoE) has released the names of 13 banks and building societies taking part in its scheme to boost lending to cash-starved households and businesses.
It said it had seen an “early impact” of its Funding for Lending Scheme, which aims to increase loans by offering up to £80bn to banks at a cheap rate, lowering banks’ costs.
Hornby in crisis as Olympic toys flop
By Steve Hawkes, Business Editor
Model maker Hornby plunged into crisis yesterday after an Olympic-sized sales flop sparked a devastating profits warning.
Shares crashed as Hornby said its range of London 2012-branded cars, buses and taxis proved a dismal failure.
Ford to axe ‘hundreds’ of jobs in Europe
US car giant Ford has said that it will cut several hundred jobs in Europe because of declining demand, including in the UK.
Jobs will also go in Germany and in other parts of Europe. The carmaker will offer voluntary buyouts for staff and cut jobs for “agency workers and purchased service”, it said.
ECB chief Mario Draghi calls on Germany to show eurozone unity
By Larry Elliott and Helena Smith
The head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, has called on Germany to show eurozone unity to tackle the single currency’s “challenging” problems as anti-austerity protesters thronged the streets of Madrid and Greece braced itself for a general strike.
Amid fears that Greece’s three-year debt crisis was entering a dangerous new phase, Draghi used a speech in Berlin to urge Germany to plan for the unlimited bond buying in its own economic interests.
S&P slashes its forecasts for Eurozone
By Julian Harris
The Eurozone’s economy will fail to grow until 2014, according to revised estimates published by credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s yesterday.
The S&P report said that the crisis-hit single currency area will suffer a 0.8 per cent economic contraction this year, followed by stagnation in 2013.
Only in 2014 will the debt-burdened Eurozone begin to recover its lost ground, S&P said.
The Confederation of British Industry’s distributive trades’ survey for September is expected to point to moderate retail sales growth – the effect of the Olympics is likely to have meant less shopping rather than more. The balance of retailers reporting that sales were up year-on-year is forecast by IHS Global Insight to have improved to +5% in September, after relapsing to -3% in August from +11% in July and +42% in June. A balance of +5% would be exactly in line with the monthly average of +5% during the first eight months of 2012.
There’s not likely to be anything particularly exciting in the trading update from Homeserve – the company that sells emergency repair services for householders – unless it refers to the ongoing investigation by the FSA into allegations that its call-centre sales force had been mis-selling policies.
Today is the UK’s Go Home On Time Day (GHOTD) – it’s a national event apparently – and on a Wednesday so that it will really stand out in the middle of the working week. The Day is a light-hearted way to make a serious point – while working late is sometimes needed to get the work done, it shouldn’t be the norm. GHOTD is one way to recognise and thank people for going that extra mile when times are tough, but most importantly it’s a chance to challenge a long-hours culture that can end up being bad for business.