Little cheer in UniCredit’s BEER

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These days banks are desperate for the next business or product line that is capital light, highly profitable and offers masses of potential to command a loyal following.

Transaction banking has often been touted as the next big thing that fulfils all those criteria, but that was until UniCredit came up with what sounded like a particularly compelling alternative to the rock ’n’ roll of payments and custody – BEER.

Does this mean UniCredit has finally drawn inspiration from its Italian, German and Austrian brewing heritage when it says it has created something that it believes is of "paramount importance" to its punters ("corporate clients and long-term investors")?

If so, Euromoney thinks this is a Stella idea from the UniCredit team, and particularly BEER lovers Vasileios Gkionakis, global head of FX strategy, and Daniel Vernazza, economist.

But then came the bitter blow. When we asked for more information about BEER, we were mortified to find out that it has nothing to do with grain, yeast and hops, and everything to do with a new framework for modelling equilibrium exchange rates in the medium to long term.

BEER, for UniCredit, stands for Behavioral Equilibrium Exchange Rate, which involves a direct econometric analysis between the exchange rate and a number of macroeconomic variables.

Strikingly, we thought, the consumption of beer involves a similar analysis.