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FINANCE

Bundesbank: first 2011 bond issue successful

Germany successfully placed its first bond issue of 2011, the Bundesbank said on Wednesday, reaffirming its safe haven status after several operations fell short late last year.

Bundesbank: first 2011 bond issue successful
Photo: DPA

The central bank said it took in €3.916 billion ($5.17 billion) in exchange for benchmark 10-year Bunds at an average rate or yield of 2.87 percent after receiving bids worth a total of €6.29 billion.

Late last year, three German issues of various maturities were under subscribed amid heightened tension on sovereign debt markets owing to problems in Ireland.

Investors are also wary of debt issued by Belgium and Portugal, and had begun to worry that Germany might have to stump up more cash to help bail out eurozone countries with weak finances.

Spokesman Jörg Müller from the German Finance Agency, which manages debt for Europe’s biggest economy, said: “Today’s result constitutes a robust start to 2011.”

Germany plans to issue bonds and shorter-term treasury securities worth a total of €302 billion this year, including €54 billion worth of Bunds.

In Paris meanwhile, HSBC bank told news agency AFP that the first issue by the eurozone of bonds to fund its bailout of Ireland attracted demand of nearly four times the offer, with €19 billion bid for €5 billion worth of bonds.

AFP/mry

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FINANCE

German watchdog steps up monitoring of popular N26 online bank

Germany's financial watchdog on Wednesday ordered online bank N26 to step up "internal controls and safeguards" to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing, and said it was appointing a special representative to monitor progress.

German watchdog steps up monitoring of popular N26 online bank
An N26 card. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Bafin’s announcement marks an escalation of previous warnings to the popular Berlin start-up, which has come under fire in the past for not properly verifying the identities of new customers.

“Bafin ordered N26 Bank GmbH to rectify deficiencies both in IT monitoring and in customer due diligence,” the regulator said in a statement.

N26 “is required to ensure that it has the adequate personnel, technical and organisational resources to comply with its obligations under anti-money laundering law,” it said.

A “special commissioner” would oversee the company’s efforts, Bafin added. Founded in 2013 and known for its transparent debit cards, digital bank N26 is one of Germany’s most high-profile financial technology or “fintech” firms and now has seven million customers in 25 countries.

Its rapid growth has rested in part on fast-track identity procedures for new customers.

READ ALSO: What is the digital German bank N26 that’s about to hit a million users?

In 2019, German business weekly WirtschaftsWoche said it had managed to open accounts using forged IDs.

N26 on Wednesday pledged to “work closely” with Bafin and the special representative.

It said it had already significantly increased measures to prevent money laundering in recent years, “but we recognise that more must be done in this area”.

The coronavirus crisis had contributed to a spike in fraudulent online transactions worldwide, N26 added, “increasing the demands placed on banks in the fight against crime”.

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