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Digital transparency for Europe’s biggest banks remains lacklustre

In an opinion piece published in International Banker this week, Webranking by Comprend takes a closer look at how the European banking sector is meeting the growing expectations of stakeholders in terms of transparency and dialogue through digital channels.

In an opinion piece published in International Banker this week, Webranking by Comprend takes a closer look at how the European banking sector is meeting the growing expectations of stakeholders in terms of transparency and dialogue through digital channels.

Topping the ranking for the second year in a row is Danish bank Danske Bank with 69.5 points, followed by Swedish bank Swedbank (63.4 points), with Austrian bank Erste Group, for the first time on the podium, closing in on third place with 60.5 points. Erste Group also wins the title of best improver, improving an impressive 15.2 points. Other best improvers includes Spanish bank Bankia and Italian bank Mediobanca, which both improve by over 9 points.

Banks improving, yet 1 out of 4 companies still not passing the test

Considering 50 points out of 100 as the threshold at which companies respond adequately to market requirements, 1 in 4 of Europe’s top 52 banks analysed passed the test in 2015 (only a slight increase from 2014, where 1 in 5 passed the test). The banking sector saw an increase in its average score, hitting 39.5 points (in 2014 the sector scored 36.4 points). This, however, falls below the European average of 41.9 points.

The failure rate, or those companies at the bottom of the ranking which do not meet the minimum content required by the market, decreased significantly from 40% to 29% this year. Despite this improvement, just under half of companies (44%) achieve between 30-50 points (finding themselves in the “held back” category), meaning that 1 out of 3 companies are not passing the test.

Digital transparency on financial and governance topics still low priority for banks

Post the financial crisis, banks are required to publish debt information, with numerous Basel stipulations also requiring them to be more open and transparent on their risk management processes. While this information is contained in annual reports, only 19% of banks publish their total debt on their corporate website (compared to 26% for the top 500 European companies), and less than 40% present their risk management processes online. More banks are now presenting their business strategy yet only 15% delve deeper by providing concrete actions supporting the strategy, lagging behind the European average of 25%.


Transparency on remuneration is also still lacking. Only 6% of the banks publish the full remuneration of their executives on their corporate website and 8% do so for their board of directors.

Webranking by Comprend 2015-2016 - Banks (PDF)

For further information regarding the research and to order the Webranking Report, please contact helena.wennergren@comprend.com

 

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