Assessing industry trends and key performance metrics of the four largest players.
The first half year of 2019 has again been a dynamic period for banks. Over the first half year, the attention in midyear reporting has shifted from new commercial initiatives that were a main topic in the full year report over 2018, to the financial performance of the four largest Dutch banks, and increased scrutiny on KYC and AML programs.
The effect of a continuing low interest environment on total income and net interest income is felt by most banks. The four banks rely heavily on income generated by the mortgage portfolio which has healthy margins and at the same time feel the pressure on decreasing their cost base. This last element is important when wanting to keep the rates on (retail) savings and payment accounts positive (whilst depositing money at the central bank occurs at a cost). However, this may prove challenging, additional to the needed investments in KYC programs and ongoing digitalization of the current and new business.
Continued investments in anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance are needed as well. The public and the regulator place increased responsibility at banks to take on the gatekeeper role of preserving the integrity of the financial system and preventing the increase of risks associated with fraud, terrorist financing and money laundering.
In the next half year we expect the banks will continue to deal with this cost-intensive gatekeeper role on the one side and their growth ambitions on the other side. As becomes clear from our overview of the Dutch banking landscape over the first half year of 2019.
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