Banking & Financial Services updates

Austria

Contributed by Schima Mayer Starlinger
Eye-catching decision on advertising of consumer loans
  • Austria
  • 19 January 2021

The Supreme Court recently had to decide whether ads for consumer loans which stated a monthly rate in the main text and a debit interest rate "from... % p.a." depending on creditworthiness, together with an example in the footnote text, complied with the Consumer Credit Act. The court held that the requirement that certain information be presented in a clear, concise and prominent way is not met with a combination of an attractive monthly rate in the main text and the other standard information in small print.

Oops, I did it again: Austrian banks' terms and conditions and PSD II
  • Austria
  • 24 November 2020

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) recently responded to the Supreme Court's request for a preliminary ruling and issued a decision with respect to a dispute concerning the standard terms and conditions of Deniz Bank. The ECJ also addressed an additional issue relating to the relationship between Article 52(6)(a) of the EU Payment Services Directive on tacit consent and the EU Unfair Consumer Contract Terms Directive.

Legislative moratoria on loan repayments – are certain SMEs more equal than others?
  • Austria
  • 06 October 2020

The outbreak of COVID-19 triggered various response measures across the globe. Among other measures, the Austrian legislature, similar to other European countries, has implemented a moratorium on payments of credit obligations to support operational and liquidity challenges faced by borrowers due to the pandemic. Contrary to, for example, Germany, the Austrian legislature has included, in addition to consumers, micro-enterprises in the scope of the moratorium.

COVID-19 pandemic and banking in Austria – lessons learned?
  • Austria
  • 14 July 2020

A significant part of Austria's COVID-19 subsidy programme was structured as government guarantees for bridging loans to be granted by banks to provide the economy with liquidity. Now, less than three months after the start of the programme, small and medium-sized enterprises regard this approach as disastrous, with many complaining that the granting of loans has been slow and cumbersome, despite the state guarantee, if a loan has been granted at all.

Failing banks – first application of new deposit guarantee scheme
  • Austria
  • 13 March 2020

An insolvency proceeding was recently opened for the assets of Anglo Austrian AAB AG. This was the last step in a long-lasting dispute between the bank and Austrian and EU regulators, leading to the revocation of the bank's licence. This case is notable because it is the first application of the newly enacted deposit guarantee scheme and was expected to be the first application of the insolvency provisions under the Federal Act on the Recovery and Resolution of Banks.


Bermuda

Blockchain and cryptocurrency regulation 2020
  • Bermuda
  • 21 February 2020

The current government was elected in 2017, having undertaken to create new economic pillars in Bermuda, identify new opportunities for economic diversification and seek local and overseas investment to develop new local industry and thereby create jobs in Bermuda. Since its election, the government has enthusiastically embraced the fintech sector and the potential that it offers and has repeatedly expressed its intention for Bermuda to be a significant centre for this industry.


Brazil

Equity crowdfunding: alternative method of fundraising during COVID-19 pandemic
Freitas Ferraz Advogados
  • Brazil
  • 01 December 2020

Equity crowdfunding is a form of online fundraising conducted via an electronic platform for participatory investment which can help to boost business. Unlike regular crowdfunding, parties which participate in equity crowdfunding expect a financial return on their investment. In view of the characterisation of this form of investment as a public offering, the Brazil Securities and Exchange Commission recently commenced a public consultation in order to review Brazil's equity crowdfunding rules.

CVM eases investment crowdfunding rules
Freitas Ferraz Advogados
  • Brazil
  • 17 November 2020

In light of the growing popularity of crowdfunding as a means of financing and maintaining small businesses' operations, it has remained on the Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission's (CVM's) agenda, leading to discussions as to how the existing regulation can be improved. Thus, in August 2020, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CVM published a new resolution which has made temporary changes, on an experimental basis, to the existing regulatory requirements.

Presidential decree simplifies foreign investment in Brazilian banking sector
  • Brazil
  • 01 November 2019

A recently issued presidential decree has authorised the Central Bank of Brazil to recognise the government's interest in establishing branches of foreign financial institutions in Brazil and increasing foreign equity participation in Brazilian financial institutions without the need for further presidential authorisation. Prior to the decree's enactment, these matters required the express approval of international treaties or presidential decrees recognising that investments were in the government's interest.


Cayman Islands

Contributed by Ogier
Registration of virtual asset service providers commenced on 31 October 2020
  • Cayman Islands
  • 08 December 2020

The government recently announced that the Virtual Asset (Service Providers) Law 2020 will commence in phases, with phase one commencing on 31 October 2020. Phase one will focus on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism compliance, supervision and enforcement. Phase two, which is expected to begin in June 2021, will bring into force the licensing and virtual asset issuance approval process.

Administrative fines regime extended
  • Cayman Islands
  • 11 August 2020

The Monetary Authority (Administrative Fines) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 recently came into force, extending the administrative fines regime beyond breaches of the Anti-money Laundering Regulations to a much broader spectrum of breaches under various Cayman regulatory laws. Of particular interest to Cayman bank licensees will be how breaches of the Banks and Trust Companies Law will be treated under the regulations.

New regulatory regime for virtual assets
  • Cayman Islands
  • 21 July 2020

The Cayman Islands recently introduced a new framework for regulating virtual asset businesses: the Virtual Assets (Service Providers) Law 2020. The law derives from recommendations made by the Financial Action Task Force and provides for the regulation of virtual asset businesses and the registration and licensing of persons which provide virtual asset services. In addition, the government has amended a number of existing laws to extend to virtual assets.

Bank regulatory update
  • Cayman Islands
  • 14 July 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a number of operational and administrative challenges across the global legal and economic landscape. This article summarises some of the latest developments and the key issues relevant to financial institutions with legal and regulatory links to the Cayman Islands, including the validity and enforceability of electronic signatures and the Cayman Islands advisory on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism compliance.

Essential considerations for Cayman funds in challenging times
  • Cayman Islands
  • 19 May 2020

To help Cayman hedge funds navigate the myriad issues brought about by COVID-19, this article offers a high-level checklist for fund directors and investment managers to consider. The checklist covers operational issues, issues around liquidity and possible termination and communication and reporting considerations. Each of these topics is considered in turn in relation to a typical standalone corporate open-ended Cayman fund. That said, most of the checks can be applied using a variety of Cayman vehicles.


Croatia

Contributed by Maćešić & Partners
Croatia reaches major milestone for admission into eurozone
  • Croatia
  • 20 October 2020

Seven years after its accession to the European Union, Croatia has entered the last stage of preparation to adopt the euro. The European Central Bank recently announced a list of eight Croatian banks which will be under its direct supervision following the country's admission to the exchange rate mechanism (ERM II) and the banking union. Since Croatia entered both the banking union and ERM II simultaneously, adopting the euro may be possible in 2023.

Additional banking measures introduced to tackle COVID-19 crisis
  • Croatia
  • 14 July 2020

During and following the peak of the COVID-19 crisis in Croatia, the government launched three packages of measures to mitigate the lockdown's effects on the economy. Since a large number of businesses remain far from recovery and their liquidity in the upcoming period is questionable, new types of financing option and support from the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development are being introduced.

Banking measures introduced to tackle COVID-19 crisis
  • Croatia
  • 24 April 2020

As the whole world is struggling to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and the consecutive economic fallout, the Croatian banking and financial sector has introduced a number of measures to alleviate the pressure on struggling companies as well as citizens affected by the crisis. The Croatian National Bank has taken several actions with the purpose of increasing the liquidity of the financial system and provided additional liquidity for commercial banks, which have also introduced their own measures.

Banking regulation in Croatia – an overview
  • Croatia
  • 27 March 2020

This article provides an overview of banking regulation in Croatia, including which authorities govern banking regulation and what the central bank's role is therein, the type of licence required to conduct banking services and what the application process is like, the forms of bank which can operate in Croatia and how are they regulated and how the Croatian regulatory regime distinguishes between different forms of bank.