Ether Joins Bitcoin on BBVA Switzerland’s Cryptocurrency Service

Six months later after BBVA Switzerland launched bitcoin trading and custody services, now they also offer ether to its private banking clients and customers with a New Gen account, where you can buy, sell, and trade your crypto.

“We decided to add ether to our crypto asset “wallet” because, together with bitcoin, they are the protocols that spark the most interest among investors, while also offering all the guarantees to comply with regulation,” said Alfonso Gómez, CEO of BBVA Switzerland

BBVA Switzerland is looking into the future

BBVA Switzerland is the subsidiary of the Spanish bank Banco Bilbao Vizcaya (BBVA) and it specializes in private banking. According to BBVA Switzerland 2020 annual report published last June, they had 4.8 billion Swiss francs or $5.18 billion assets under management.

Three months ago, in September, they launched a new online account called “New Gen” to make it easier for customers who want to invest on their own, in a 100% digital way. They offer stocks, ETFs, Investments Funds, and Cryptocurrencies.

“With New Gen we want to reach a new type of investor, attracted by new sectors that have great potential to transform the future,” says Javier Rubio, Director of Client Solutions at BBVA Switzerland.

In order to open a New Gen account, you must be 18 years old, be a resident of any European country, and have a minimum deposit of $10.000 or its equivalent in Swiss francs or euros. New Gen accounts are also available in Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Chile, and others, according to the BBVA Switzerland’s website.

Ether is getting attention from institutional investors

Ether is the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, at the time of this writing, Ethereum’s market cap is $473.18 billion, it is bigger than the world’s largest banks, J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America, according to Infinite Market Cap’s website.

Ether has outperformed bitcoin this year, with a +600% performance, one of the main reasons is the growth of different crypto ecosystems over the Ethereum blockchain in NFTs like the Bored Apes, DeFi like Uniswap, play-to-earn games like Axie Infinity, and metaverse like The Sandbox. Additionally, institutional investors are seeing Ethereum’s different utilities, as an alternative to Bitcoin’s digital gold.

According to a J.P. Morgan Chase report published in September, over the past months, institutions have preferred Ethereum over Bitcoin in numbers of contracts based on Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) futures contracts. The demand continues growing with the micro ether futures launched last week on CME.

This puts BBVA Switzerland as one of the main institutional players offering ether and, as announced by the company, they will continue to expand their crypto assets portfolio in the future. BBVA Switzerland is making a huge step forward in the crypto industry. There is no doubt the other BBVA subsidiaries are working on offering similar services, but its execution depends on the country’s regulation. In the near future we hope to see other banks offer cryptocurrency services, and collaborate with the growth of crypto institutional adoption. Let’s wait and see which other pioneers decide to join.

Exclusive -Turkey’s State Banks Likely to Follow Central Bank and Slash Rates on Monday – Sources

The three big public lenders Ziraat Bank, Halkbank and Vakif Bank are expected to lower rates on corporate, individual, mortgage and other loans, the three banking sources told Reuters, speaking under condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss it.

One lender sent an email to some staff on Friday, viewed by Reuters, notifying them of the plan to cut costs by some 200 basis points. Another senior banking source said state banks will on Monday reduce rates “significantly in order to match” the central bank’s 200-basis point cut in its repo rate.

Cemil Ertem, a chief adviser to the Turkish presidency and a Vakif Bank board member, said on Twitter that state banks had cut loan rates down to the central bank’s policy rate.

Ziraat Bank had no immediate comment. Halkbank declined to comment and a Vakif Bank spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on details of the plan.

Policy easing by a central bank typically triggers lower rates for borrowers, stimulating economic activity. But the size of last week’s rate cut to 16% shocked markets and was twice as sharp as the most dovish estimate in a Reuters poll.

It sent the lira to a record low against the dollar and boosted benchmark yields, including a jump in Turkey’s 10-year government bond to 20.53%.

INFLATION RISK

While the big state banks are expected to follow the central bank, the market reaction last week suggests that extending cheaper loans will be costly for them. And though a sharp drop in rates could help some businesses and consumers, many analysts say it also risks exacerbating rising inflation and lira depreciation which could soon force the central bank to reverse course and hike again.

The government’s Turkey Wealth Fund did not immediately comment on banks cutting borrowing costs. It fully owns Ziraat Bank, 75% of Halkbank and 36% of Vakif Bank, public data show.

The central bank declined to comment on the state bank plan or on any possible fallout.

Many analysts say the central bank’s credibility is tarnished by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s publicly stated calls for lower rates in order to boost credit and exports, despite inflation running near 20% last month.

Governor Sahap Kavcioglu has said publicly that Turkey’s central bank sets policy independently. Last week the bank said it cut rates in part because inflation pressure is temporary.

A self-described enemy of interest rates, Erdogan has replaced much of the central bank’s top leadership this year. Turkey is now virtually alone in cutting rates while other central banks around the world are hiking to head off rising global price pressures.

‘RISK PERCEPTIONS’

State banks aggressively expanded credit last year to ease pandemic fallout.

But some private lenders say they are hesitant given the risks of stoking an economy expected to grow at nearly 10% this year, and possible defaults on companies’ foreign currency debt.

The chief executive of lender Isbank, Hakan Aran, said in a televised interview on Sept. 29 that credit costs will not fall unless inflation is brought down first.

“If state-run banks slash rates and turn on the consumer-lending spigot … the additional liras flooding the system will only drive more dollarisation – exacerbating financial and economic pressures,” said Emre Peker, a London-based director at Eurasia Group.

In its policy statement on Thursday, the central bank cited business’s difficulty in getting commercial loans due to tight monetary policy.

Central bank data shows that average rates on these loans has held near 20% this year, though one of the sources said it was between 17.5% and 18% at state banks. These rates are among those that banks are expected to cut on Monday, according to the three sources.

Thursday’s rate cut was the second by the central bank in two months, following a 100-basis-point cut in September. Policy easing has sent the lira tumbling 13% against the dollar since the beginning of September, to hit an all-time low of 9.75 in early trade on Monday, pushing inflation higher via imports.

Erich Arispe, Fitch Ratings senior director who covers Turkey, told Reuters on Friday that the jump in market yields after Thursday’s rate cut shows that “risk perceptions play a role in financing conditions” for Turkey.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

(Additional reporting and writing by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Daren Butler and Susan Fenton)

Europe Shares Mark Biggest Daily Drop in a Month as Miners, Luxury Stocks Tumble

The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 1.6% at a two-week low, with mining stocks sliding 4.2% in their biggest one-day decline since March.

Luxury stocks with a large exposure to China’s economy such as LVMH, Kering and Richemont dropped between 5.8% and 9.2% on Beijing’s plans to target excessive corporate profits and wealth inequalities.

“The increasing determination on the part of China to pour sand in the wheels of its own recovery story with a crackdown on various sectors, including tech and luxury, also appears to be weighing on sentiment, as well as on demand for raw materials,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

Stocks around the globe fell earlier in the day, as minutes published Wednesday from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting gave the impression of a looming cut in its massive, pandemic-era bond-buying programme.

Although the European Central Bank has held steady, rising inflation has prompted some policymakers to say it must begin to rein-in its easy money policies that have been instrumental in lifting the STOXX 600 to record highs.

Focus will turn to the high-profile annual U.S. Jackson Hole conference of central bankers in late August, where Fed Chair Jerome Powell could signal he is ready to start easing monetary support.

ECB President Christine Lagarde will not attend the conference, an ECB spokesperson said this week.

Banking stocks including Asia-focused HSBC, as well as Spain’s BBVA and France’s BNP Paribas fell about 3% each.

The travel and leisure index declined 2.5% as a surge in cases of the Delta variant of the coronavirus added to concerns of slowing global growth and took the shine off a solid second-quarter corporate earnings season.

With the European earnings season nearly at the halfway mark, profit for STOXX 600 companies is expected to have surged 150% in the second quarter, the best since Refinitiv IBES records began in 2012.

Among individual stocks, Swedish heating technology specialist Nibe Industrier jumped 10.1% after posting a 64% jump in first-half profit.

Swiss building materials supplier Geberit, on the other hand, fell 1.7% as it warned about rising raw materials prices.

Utilities , considered a safe bet at a time of economic uncertainty, were the only sector in the green.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

(Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani and Shreyshi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Barbara Lewis and David Holmes)

Union Calls on BBVA Staff in Spain to Strike Over Layoff Plans

Although Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) has scheduled another meeting next week with Spain’s second-largest bank, it does not expect any breakthrough, a spokesman for the union at BBVA said.

“Negotiations with the bank have not progressed over layoff plans and we are formally calling a strike on June 2,” the spokesman said, adding the CCOO would also call for partial strikes and rallies next week.

A BBVA spokesman declined to comment.

BBVA said last month that it was planning to cut 3,800 jobs and close almost a quarter of its branches, to adapt to a customer shift towards online banking.

The bank recently offered to bring the number down to around 3,300 employees, but CCOO believes this is still too high and is demanding than any cuts should be through voluntary redundancy and early retirement.

It is also calling for greater financial compensation for those who leave BBVA as a result of the cuts..

Formal talks with BBVA to reach any agreement are due to finish on June 4, CCOO has said.

There have been other protests in Spain against plans by five Spanish banks to cut a total of 18,000 jobs, which have coincided with government calls to rein in the pay of top bankers in the country.

(Reporting by Jesús Aguado; Editing by Andrei Khalip and Alexander Smith)