SOURCE: The Bedford Report

The Bedford Report

May 11, 2011 08:16 ET

European Banks Struggle to Restore Investor Confidence

The Bedford Report Provides Analyst Research on The Bank of Ireland & Banco Santander

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - May 11, 2011) - Investors in European Banking are proceeding with caution this month after top regulators warned that banks that fall short of parameters set in the recent pan-EU stress tests will receive a mere six months to repair their finances or face further action. The stress tests, which promise to properly assess the health of European banks, are critical to the European Union's efforts to win back the confidence of financial markets. The Bedford Report examines the outlook for Foreign Banks and provides research reports on The Governor and Company of The Bank of Ireland (NYSE: IRE) and Banco Santander SA (NYSE: STD). Access to the full company reports can be found at:

Irish banks recently performed surprisingly well on a new round of stress tests. As the EU looked into the books of Irish banks, it determined that most were exceedingly well capitalized and should be poised to handle looming losses from the country's banking crisis. Last month The Bank of Ireland added that its net loss shrank by two thirds in 2010 to 609 million euros.

The governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, warns that banks that pass the latest round of stress tests should not automatically be viewed as safe. King, who believes that the stress tests should be considered a "regular exercise," argues that it will take many years to work through the effects of the financial crisis.

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The weak European economy has had negative impacts on several banks in the sector. Banco Santander, for example, saw European weakness offset strength in its Latin American divisions during the most recent quarter. Real estate losses in Spain were one of the causes for the bank's net income falling 5 percent.

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