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Banking in Turmoil: Strategies for Sustainable Growth by Steven I. Davis (auth.)

By Steven I. Davis (auth.)

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Sample text

For example, it is generally understood by bank management that Basel II will be replaced by ‘Basel III’ which will address some of the weaknesses of its predecessor, but bankers know that it took some nine years to shape Basel II, and even now the US does not subscribe to it in detail. Given these caveats, however, management must be setting the broad guidelines now for their future strategy, and the following comments are useful in profiling the likely management responses. 36 Banking in Turmoil A widespread concern of bank management is the likely impact of government ownership and political involvement on the regulatory environment.

And the third is the institutional approach, like that at HSBC, where the leadership is part of a dynasty which prepares the bank for the next generation. Richard Ramsden points out that good leadership is even more important now in the strategic equation: The market has pushed bank management to do stupid things that can take 10 years to undo. You avoid that by leadership that has a clear idea on what has to change – not dumb strategies because the market demands that you do something. Good leadership also avoids doing expensive deals at the wrong end of the cycle.

In the US at least, management is reluctant to do deals when the economic downside is unclear. Wells Fargo gambled in buying Wachovia. But if the economy shows signs of bottoming, you’ll see action. A buyer shouldn’t make the first call; you’ll get a better price if you are called! Several interviewees pointed to the massive uncertainties in executing M & A in the current environment. The debacle of Merrill’s unexpected losses on the Bank of America transaction is on the minds of many. Andy Maguire points out that Big deals like Wachovia/Wells Fargo can make you or break you.

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