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Biggest Global Banks Go to Pieces Under Pressure From Regulators 

March 30, 2015

Yalman Onaran, Nicholas Comfort, Michael J. Moore, Bloomberg

Global regulators have issued dozens of rules aimed at making the biggest banks safer. That’s leading to another result some wanted: making them shrink.

HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s biggest bank by market value, said this week it’s considering “extreme solutions” for some of its units. Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc is reducing its U.S. trading staff and getting out of two-thirds of the countries where it operates. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is closing branches, raising fees on some institutional deposits and looking for ways to shrink its trading businesses.

Increasingly strict capital rules over the past three years may be forcing the breakup of the financial supermarkets built in the decade before the financial crisis. Lenders, unable to use borrowed money to fund as much of their business as they once did, have cut profitability targets and are weighing more drastic actions to meet them.

“We’re beginning to see discussions that these capital charges are sufficiently large it’s causing those firms to think seriously about whether or not they should spin off some of their enterprises to reduce their systemic footprint,” Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen told the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. “And frankly, that’s exactly what we want to see happen.”

Read more: Bloomberg

 
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