As the dust starts to settle, which banks deserve the most plaudits?
Trying to work out which banks are the world’s best is a bit like awarding the prize for prettiest war-torn village. It is a title that carries little kudos. It is also likely to prompt further shelling. Winners of industry awards in the past three years include Ken Lewis, the chief executive of Bank of America, for banker of the year ; Société Générale for its risk management; and Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide, a failed mortgage lender, for a “lifetime of achievement”.
想要评出哪家银行是世界上最好的，有点像从饱受战争蹂躏的村庄中评选出最美的村庄，这是一个并不光彩的头衔，也可能引发对企业的刨根问底。在过去三年间，金融行业的优胜者包括美国银行的首席执行官肯·刘易斯，获评为“2008年银行家”, Société Générale因其风险管理获奖，以及失败了的破产抵押人，美国国家金融服务公司的安吉罗•莫奇罗，因“终身成就”而获奖。
Still, the question is becoming more pertinent. After months of indiscriminate fear, widespread losses and government hand-holding, the banking industry is gradually stabilising. Money markets are steadily calming. American banks that got a clean bill of health in this month’s stress tests are queuing up to repay government money. A first wave of escapees is likely to include Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase. Those banks that emerge from this crisis with reputations and franchises strengthened will find it increasingly easy to raise funds, win clients, attract employees and buy assets.
However the pack is shuffled, a few names keep resurfacing—in America, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase; and in Europe, Credit Suisse, Deutsche, BNP, Barclays and Santander. They can be whittled down further. In Europe, concerns over what lies on the balance-sheets of Deutsche and Barclays are ebbing but are not gone. The British bank’s willingness to consider a sale of BGI, its asset-management arm, suggests worries over capital. Both banks still have lots of legacy assets, many of them tucked in the banking book.
银行业正在洗牌，,一些公司将继续其荣耀----美国的高盛和摩根大通公司，欧洲的瑞士信贷集团, 德国德意志银行, 法国巴黎银行, 英国巴克莱银行以及西班牙桑坦德银行。这些名字未来可能会减少。在欧洲，人们对德国德意志银行和英国巴克莱银行资产负债表的担忧正在减少，但却没有消失。英国银行正考虑卖掉BGI，其资产管理的左膀右臂，也表明对资产情况非常焦虑。这两个银行都有很多遗产资产，这些资产来自开户人的存折。
In America, Goldman still has legions of admirers. It has posted losses of less than $8 billion to date, a performance not nearly as bad as those of its direct peers. Its focus on risk management is a template for others to follow. But its renewed swagger should not conceal the fact that it needed to convert into a bank-holding company in order to survive the market storm—nor the questions that hang over its future earnings in a re-regulated industry.
That leaves Credit Suisse and JPMorgan Chase to take the grand prizes. Credit Suisse has had its share of mishaps during the crisis but it was quick to scale down its balance-sheet, has plotted a credible strategy for its investment bank and pulled well ahead of UBS, its main rival in wealth management. As for JPMorgan Chase, it has kept a tight rein on risk, managed capital well and acquired sensibly. None of this is much comfort for weary Swiss and American taxpayers, of course. Well-run or not, both banks present the problem of being far too important to fail.