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Banking Industry Transformation Looks Likely

Banking Industry

According to market experts, the banking industry will be obliged to transform itself over the forthcoming five to ten years. Jean Pierre Mustier, a European investment banking veteran from UniCredit, has commented on the trend for lenders to re-organise their operating models along lines last seen in the 1980s.

Mustier is responsible for Unicredit's corporate and investment banking arm. Speaking to Bloomberg, he said that he anticipated a further increase in capital requirements. The knock-on effect would see the banking industry acting to further simplify their activities, and step back to a business model that focuses on transaction banking, lending and intermediation, which is similar to the 1980s model.

Banking industry regulators are strongly focusing on leverage, in a bid to prevent any recurrence of the bank rescues of 2008 funded by the tax payer. Universal banks, which combine commercial, investment and retail banking operations, will also be likely to farm out a greater proportion of their activities.

Although the banking industry transformation will not happen overnight, according to Mustier's predictions, it will be visible within the next five to ten years.

The idea of a banking world predicated on a previous model demonstrates the scale of challenge that lenders are facing as they deal with increasingly stringent regulations. Many believe that banks will simply abandon business activities that require too much capital, such as derivatives in particular.

The banking industry will increasingly embrace the commercial model, where clients are offered a broad range of credit options, from bonds to loans, with fundamentally local credit markets. Banks are realising that they don't necessarily need to have global operations in everything.

Some of these businesses - particularly investment banks - do require a certain critical mass in order to obtain acceptable returns. Universal banks might yet abandon activities such as merger advice, equities trading, and the servicing of hedge funds. By doing this, they will be able to obtain a stronger credit rating, see the cost of their funding decrease, be able to run off lower equity and see the ratio of loans to deposits decrease.

However, lending will also need to remain a focus. The banking industry will always risk losing money through poor lending decisions, regardless of their lending model. The financial market crisis of 2008 was driven by sub-prime mortgages or capital markets that were powered largely by the trade in securitised bonds. Equally, a spate of Latin American loan defaults in the 1980s showed that no totally foolproof banking system can ever exist across the board. However, elements can be controlled and improved, such as the recent regulatory tightening and challenges to banking excesses.

Written by Niraj Joshi of Circle Square - Financial Recruitment London
To contact one of our specialist financial recruitment consultants call 0207 492 0700 or email: jobs@circlesquare.co.uk
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