Henry Grunfeld Professor of Banking Dr Peter Hahn was invited on to BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme yesterday morning (Thursday 18 August) to discuss the latest half-year figures from The Co-operative Bank.
In a wide-ranging interview, Peter discussed the past, present and future for the banking group, which faced a £1.5bn black hole in its accounts and was bailed out in 2013.
The figures, which were released to day show that while re-building work is underway, the group still faces many challenges, with a shortfall of £177m to make up.
Dr Hahn said:
“In a way it is a similar story to RBS. It is trying to outrun its past, which is a real challenge and it is uncertain whether it will get there. Three years ago bondholders and private equity became the major shareholders which changed the nature of its model.”
Answering the question as to what the future holds, Peter said:
“What the Co-op has been doing in effect is shrinking itself over the past three years, so its buffer is an even bigger fraction of its earning.""
And, touching upon its future and whether it may have to consider merging with one of the many challenger banks, Pete said:
“Yes, it will more than likely have to amalgamate with others to produce a more efficient bank. It will have to make investments in technology and infrastructure. The question is, who the consolidator [of challenger and smaller retail banks] will be.”
Listen here to Peter’s interview at 01:17 via the BBC website.