Magazine article American Banker

A Guide to US Performance of British Banks

Magazine article American Banker

A Guide to US Performance of British Banks

Article excerpt

British banks have made sizable inroads into the United States, and their participation is going to get bigger, says Keith Brown, partner and head of research and marketing at W. Greenwell & Co., one of London's largest stockbrokers.

Six British banks have injected a total of about $3.3 billion in capital through eight acquisitions. They are Barclays PLC, Lloyds Bank PLC, Midland Bank PLC, National Westminster Bank PLC, Standard Chartered PLC, and the Hongkong Bank.

And, similar to the differing fortunes of domestic banks. Mr. Brown says there are distinct winners and losers among the U.S. operations of British banks.

He argues that those banks with previous overseas experience have fared better in the United States than others. For example the Hongkong Bank, which is based overseas n the British crown colony, has extensive experience in Asia.

And Standard Chartered has an advantage because it is a combination of two banks that each had considerable international experience. Standard Bank was a major factor in banking in Africa, while Chartered Bank did much of its business in the Far East.

Their backgrounds seem to have served these two banks well.

"Measured by either return on investment, or proportion of group profits to group total assets in the United States, Hongkong Bank's investment in Marine Midland has been an outstanding success," Mr. Brown says in a recent report.

He figures the next best performance was turned in by Standard Chartered's investment in Union Bank of Los Angeles, although the return on investment of Lloyds Bank California was also in the running.

However, Mr. Brown gives his "award for progress" to National Westminster, which acquired the National Bank of North America in 1979. This bank has ince been renamed NatWest-USA as part of a renaissance that returned the institution to rofitability after an earnings loss in 1980. …

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