Quotes of the month

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“I remember the morning I discovered my car had been burnt out outside the house. I’ve had some close security, but I never wanted them to be overly obvious and get in the way. I mean: they hadn’t attacked the house or anything. They had just burnt the car. It was a message: ‘People are angry’. I understood that”


Phlegmatic may not be enough to describe the attitude of Bank of Cyprus CEO John Hourican
“Such are the regulatory restrictions on private equity funds investing in banks in the US that not only am I prevented from acting as an officer or committee chairman, I can’t even deposit more than $500,000 of my own money at a bank we own. In Europe they seem more open to the idea of having people on the board of a bank that might possibly have something useful to offer”

Strategic investor Wilbur Ross, vice chairman of Bank of Cyprus, is happy that Europe allows him to offer his experience to the board, rather than just his fund’s money as is the case elsewhere
“Making banking simple is not simple; making banking easy is not easy”

Some simple and easy messages about banking from ING CEO Ralph Hamers
“I will have a desk but not an office. It would be absurd to move 5,000 people into the new building and only give the board members offices. It wouldn’t feel right”

Erste Bank is moving head office in Vienna. CEO Andreas Treichl can console himself with a six-desk executive suite with panoramic views of the city
“This was an experiment that we didn’t have a proxy for. We had to save a bank that didn’t really exist. We had to cement it together while reducing its capacity by a third in one year. This was unprecedented”

Jose Sevilla Alvarez faced some unique challenges in trying to put Bankia on the path to stability