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Banking Exchange nabs 6 awards for excellence

Among some of the toughest competition in the b2b publishing world, Banking Exchange won six awards for editorial and design excellence, just 18 months from its launch date.

The magazine and website was a finalist in six categories encompassing both digital and print articles and won awards in all six for a clean sweep.

The awards, known as "Azbees," are given out by the American Society of Business Publication Editors, and are among the most prestigious and coveted awards in the business media world. All the big b2b publishing companies compete.

Banking Exchange was the only banking publication to win awards in this year's competition.

Editor amp; Publisher Bill Streeter, who attended the Northeast Regional Awards dinner along with Steve Cocheo, Executive Editor and Digital Content Manager, said:

"To be singled out by your peers for excellence is very satisfying. It reinforces what our goal has been from the beginning, to offer bankers high-quality, unbiased, and useful articles--in print and online--to help them compete in an increasingly tough marketplace. Thats what our experienced staff and contributors, and our knowledgeable bloggers strive for in every post and every article."

The six awards were for the Northeast Region of ASBPE. Three of the six were also finalists for the National Awards, to be announced July 21.

The six awards, with links to articles, were:

For digital journalism

o Silver award (and National finalist) in the How-to Online Category--"Community Banking" blog written by Jeff Gerrish

o Bronze award in the How-to Online Category--"Talking Credit" blog written by Ed O'Leary

o Silver award (and a National finalist) in the e-Newsletter/General Excellence Category--Editors Exchange newsletter, written by Steve Cocheo

For print journalism and magazine design

o Gold award (and a National finalist) in the Best Overall Typography Category--Banking Exchange magazine

o Silver award in the Regular Department Category--the "Threads" section of Banking Exchange magazine

o Silver award in the General Interest Feature Category--"Disruption Everywhere: How Will Life Change," written by Jo Ann Barefoot in the July 2015 issue.

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Life as an investment banker is miserable right now

Its a tough time to be an investment banker.

Global investment banking revenues stand at $31.4 billion in the first half of the year, according to preliminary figures from Dealogic. Thats down 25% from a year ago, and the lowest first half total since 2010. 

And really no country was spared. The map below shows the year-on-year change in investment banking revenue by country in the top 10 markets around the world.

Dealogic



Central Bank plays down loss of another correspondent banking relationship

Posted July 1st 2016, 6:29 p.m CST

By Aaron Humes: Belize has lost another correspondent banking relationships (CBR), between the Central Bank and Citibank of the United States.

But according to Central Bank Governor Glenford Ysaguirre, Belize's financial stability continues unaffected and, as with the previous departures, Citibank cited as its reason that Belize does not do sufficient business that would allow the larger bank to keep it as a client, due to the increased diligence in reporting transactions required by US regulators.

Citibank issued three months' notice which terminated recently.

The information that two CBR's had been lost was first reported in the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) report: "The Withdrawal of Correspondent Banking Relationships: A Case for Policy Action", released this week, which states that only two of the country's nine domestic and international banks (representing 27 percent of the banking system's assets at the end of March 2016) have managed to maintain CBRs with full banking services.

Citibank follows Commerzbank, which left Belize as of last year, while Bank of America continues to do business with the Central Bank according to Governor Ysaguirre, HSBC, which has been cited in other local media as another bank leaving a relationship with the Central Bank, had in fact done so years ago. Bank of America did sever ties with several local banks here for the same reasons.

The IMF's report states that other banks have found alternative relationships with non-bank providers of payment services or through nesting arrangements.

While the overall size of deposits and lending in the country has not been affected, international banks' deposits have decreased significantly, with this decrease partly compensated by an increase in deposits in domestic banks. The report adds that there has also been some displacement of customers toward the two banks that still have CBRs with full banking services.

Ysaguirre also told us that despite persistent beliefs otherwise, no bank withdrawing from a correspondent banking relationship with Belize has indicated that it has to do with corruption or related issues.

The IMF, however, proposes stronger Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regulations; and a review of banks' capital buffers with weaker banks being made to raise more capital. Because local and international banks play important roles in mobilizing savings for domestic investment and facilitating external trade, losing CBR's may not be reversed and affect banks' balance sheets, leading to higher financial transaction costs and a weakened economy, including inability to repay debt and a reduction in banks' ability to lend.

copy; 2016, www.breakingbelizenews.com. This article is the copyrighted property of Belize Media Group. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Africa in the news: Kenyan banking sector reforms proposed, agriculture tops African development agenda, and ...

Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich calls for changes in Kenyan banking sector

In light of three bank failures in the past eight months, Kenyas Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich has recently revived proposals that call on banks to increase their safety buffers and allow the government greater oversight into their management. His proposed amendment to current banking laws would compel banks to increase their core capital fivefold by 2019 to 5 billion shillings ($49 million), according to Bloomberg. Some experts contend that such a law would effectively curtail the number of smaller bankswhich are unable to meet these requirementsand lead to mergers and acquisitions that would consolidate the overbanked sector. An estimated 24 of 44 banks licensed in Kenya would currently be unable to meet these new capital requirements, reports the Daily Nation. At the same time, supporters of the proposal argue that these reforms would enable to government to better monitor the fewer, stronger banks and also reduce borrowing costs, as larger banks could leverage their size to offer more competitive interest rates on loans. A critic of the proposal, Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge, has argued that he would prefer that natural consolidation occur in the banking sector instead.

African stakeholders prioritize agriculture, climate resilience

This week, and under the cloud of drought over southern Africa, a number of climate change and agricultural commitments were launched to tap into Africas great agricultural potential as well as create climate resilience. Given that the majority of African laborers70 percentwork in agriculture, but the continent spends $35.4 billion each year importing food, agricultural investments could be a boon to the region. Indeed, just this week, the World Bank released a report on Malawis stagnating growth, mostly due to a lack of agricultural resilience.

On June 27, the African Development Bank announced a $24 billion investment into its agricultural implementation plan known as Feed Africa. The bank will do so through equity, quasi equity, debt and risk instruments to catalyze investments at scale from the private sector and with co-financing from traditional donors and new players. Feed Africa, one of the banks top five priorities under its new leadership (the High 5), is estimated to cost over $315 billion dollars over the next 10 years, but bank staffers are hopeful that it will have returns of $85 billion per year. Also this week, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the African Union (AU) launched a program aimed at ending hunger it the Horn of Africa, including Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, and Uganda. It is hoped that a regional approach will better be able to tackle climate-related challenges such as drought. The project, which is in line with the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) priorities, begins with a budget of $350,000.

On June 28, Kigali hosted more than 500 African climate change experts, carbon market players, policymakers, and project developers for the Africa Carbon Forum to discuss solutions to climate change challenges and identify opportunities for successful interventions. Right now, Africa has pledged to cut gas emissions by 80 percent by 2030, a target that many experts find difficult to reach without raising climate financing commitments (which currently are 4 percent of the total). Other participants noted that climate goal implementation must continue to keep the Sustainable Development Goals in mind, while others emphasized the role of the private sector in reaching them.

Michelle Obama takes a trip to Africa to discuss girls empowerment and education

This week, Michelle Obama travelled to Liberia, Morocco, and Spain. As part of her Let Girls Learn initiative, the first lady engages with young women around the world about the importance of girls education. Launched in 2015 by the White House, the initiativein collaboration with the US Department of State, USAID, the Peace Corps, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), among other US government agenciesaims to address the challenges girls face in attaining quality education. Currently, 62 million girls (half of whom are adolescents) worldwide are not in school.

Monday, the First Lady visited a leadership camp for girls in Liberia, where she urged teenagers to prioritize their schooling. Liberia is one of the most affected places in terms of girls lack of access to education. UNESCO data shows that 63 percent of primary school-age girls are currently out of school, one of the highest rates in sub-Saharan Africa, second only to South Sudan. The Ebola epidemic accentuated the challenges young girls face in attaining quality education. In parallel with the First Ladys visit, USAID pledged $27 million in funding for Liberias Let Girls Learn branch.

For more information on girls education, please check out a blog by our CUE colleagues Christina Kwauk and Amanda Braga titled Supporting local leaders to let girls learn.

In December 2014, First Lady Michelle Obama visited the Center for Universal Education at Brookings and gave a speech on the importance of girls education. Click here to watch the full event.



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