This has been a largely profitable week for banks with investors regaining much of the confidence they lost over the previous fortnight in the wake of President Obama’s re-election and the looming fears of a fiscal cliff. Hopes that the Republicans and Democrats will join hands, even if temporarily, to avoid a budget crisis allowed investors to shed most of their fears over the beginning of the week. Share prices were also buoyed by the increasing optimism towards Greece even as the debt-stricken nation inches towards a long-due bailout agreement with other European nations and the IMF.
Coming to individual banks, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) is gearing up to win back lost ground in the payment services space by taking on the likes of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Square, PayPal and LevelUp with its newly launched Mobile Pay on Demand service offering for small businesses. Rival U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) announced expansion plans of its own, with the country’s fifth-largest bank acquiring AIS Fund Management. On the other side of the Atlantic, Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) unveiled its new organization structure comprising of two independent businesses – wealth management & investment banking. The second largest Swiss bank was also sued this week by the New York Attorney General for losses over mortgage-related bonds.
Bank of America
Bank of America is trying to woo small businesses into using its new mobile-based payment system by setting per transaction fees at levels similar to those offered by technology firms. The bank is also throwing in additional benefits like linking the payment system with the merchant’s savings/checking account and granting them access to the bank’s marketing platform to offer promotions and deals to Bank of America customers.
Additional details about this new offering from Bank of America can be found in our article BofA Is Sick Of Square, Rolls Out New Mobile Payment System
In a bid to make the most of the growing demand for alternative investments around the globe, U.S. Bancorp is acquiring AIS Fund Administration. This move will expand the bank’s existing fund services business by doubling the size of its alternative investment assets base from $25 billion to $50 billion.
You can read more about this acquisition and its impact on U.S. Bancorp in our article titled, U.S. Bancorp Expands Alternative Investments Business With AIS Acquisition.
Credit Suisse is trying to shed some of its flab by taking on a leaner look with just two broad, independent business divisions – the Private Banking & Wealth Management division and the Investment Banking division. The tame reorganization is far from the drastic organization-wide slashes the bank’s bigger competitor in Switzerland, UBS (NYSE:UBS), announced last month, and will help it reduce redundancies in the business model while providing targeted customer service.