Siemens to set up own bank

Well, we all know Transition Towns are keen on setting up local currencies, and now it seems big business is getting in on the act. Well, almost.

A story in the FT today tells how Siemens, the German engineering group, is planning to set up its own bank.

In a way this might not be such a big deal — after all BMW and Volkswagen already own their own banks. But the difference is that these car companies use their banking licences to offer customers finance to buy their vehicles. Whereas Siemens is looking to set up its own bank as a way “rapidly to reduce their reliance on bank financing after the credit crisis.”

Siemens says that like the car companies it will use its banking licence to “expand the product portfolio of its financial services unit”. The direct access to the central Bundesbank would also provide a safe haven for its current €9bn ($11bn) cash pile — without having to go through other banks as an intermediary. This reduces Siemens’ risk. And it also enables Siemens to broaden (and directly manage the risks associated with) the sources of finance that it borrows from.

The FT says this move highlights “how Europe’s industrial companies mistrust future financing capabilities of large banks after a financial crisis that put the stability of the whole system into question.”

Full story here: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4f3f6dae-82ec-11df-8b15-00144feabdc0.html

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