RETAIL BANKING | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Weekly Global News Wrap Up: Blockchain may hammer Swiss banks; US banks can cash in on higher Libor

And it's the start of a good year for BofA as profits rose 34% in Q1.

From CNBC: The blockchain technology underlying bitcoin could hurt Swiss banks the most, according to Moody's Investors Service. The ratings agency said that Switzerland is most at risk since its massive banking industry generates half of its revenue from fees and commissions. The nation ranks third on Moody's list of countries whose banks handle the most cross-border transactions relative to GDP — excluding outliers Luxembourg and Hong Kong. The UK tops the list, followed by Belgium. 

From Bloomberg: The largest U.S. lenders could each make at least $1 billion in additional pretax profit in 2018 from a jump in the London interbank offered rate for dollars, based on data disclosed by the companies. That’s because customers who take out loans are forced to pay more as Libor rises while the banks’ own cost of credit has mostly held steady. “During the 2008 crisis, it [higher Libor] was the sign capital markets were frozen,” said Fred Cannon, head of research at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. “Now there’s all this liquidity, so they don’t need to borrow in the Eurodollar market,” where rates are based on Libor, he said.

From Reuters: Bank of America (BAC.N) reported a 34 percent rise in first-quarter profit on Monday, topping Wall Street estimates, as the lender benefited from higher interest rates and growth in loans and deposits. Revenue rose at three of BofA’s four major businesses. In consumer banking, its biggest business, revenue increased 9 percent as higher interest rates helped BofA charge more for loans while keeping deposit rates low.

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