Final Word from Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Banks in Germany are facing an earnings crisis in what is being called the worst business climate in 50 years. In the CR, the major banks are the healthiest they've been in years, yet some of them ironically came under attack by "electronic terrorists" who used anonymous SMS and email messages to warn of alleged liquidity problems. The banks and the regulator Czech National Bank stressed that earnings are soaring and that the rumors are unfounded. President Pavel Kavánek of the Czech Banking Association, who is also CEO of ČSOB, suggested in MFD MF Dnes that the campaign was organized and hinted that ČSOB was the main target. Market speculation pointed at some of those who want to get at assets of the old IPB. The campaign has petered out without significantly affecting deposits, but it hasn't helped the industry's image or stability. It's curious why Interior Minister Stanislav Gross and the police didn't do more to squash the rumors.


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