Banking and Finance

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Ever since the stock-market bubble burst five years ago and the cost of equity soared, availability of capital has become a greater concern for corporate-finance executives. Luckily, debt has plugged the equity gap, thanks to the innovation of the banking industry and the Federal Reserve's efforts to keep interest rates low.

Now, however, the Fed has changed course, fueling concern that credit conditions will soon turn much tougher, as "A Change of Season" explains. The good news is that most CFOs have time and room to maneuver to soften any such crunch.

Meanwhile, the innovations that have helped raise capital may also increase the risk of conflicts of interest through new products like credit derivatives and new relationships with hedge funds, as "Are Your Secrets Safe?" points out.

Indeed, underwriting itself faces a growing challenge, as pressure mounts to undo the investment bank oligopoly. Finance executives favor that idea, but may yet be disappointed, as "The Big Get Bigger" notes.

In the end, significant changes are afoot, and it is highly unlikely that capital will come from the same sources as in the recent past, or at the same cost.

Are Your Secrets Safe?
A shift in banks' business model raises questions about conflicts.
The Big Get Bigger
Banks are still your best option in underwriting.
A Change of Season
Don't let a turn in the credit cycle catch you napping.
The 2006 CFO Survey of Trends in Banking
Finance executives' concerns about the banking industry.

Inside Your Banker's Head
Companies are starting to figure out how their banks make money. Banks actually like that.
Who's Holding the Bag?
Everyone knows banks are shedding more risk these days. So where does it go?
When Risk Meets Reality
New risk-management techniques are credited with transforming the banking system. But there may be less to their success than meets the eye.
Last Banks Standing
As the banking industry consolidates, its relationship with Corporate America is changing.
Party Poopers
IPOs aren't half the fun they once were now that bankers and analysts can't mix.
The Banker's Protection Act
What you don't know about the new bankruptcy act won't hurt your company. Unless it gets into trouble.
Not Your Father's CD
Banks are pitching credit derivatives as a source of higher yields for cash-laden companies. But as always, higher yields mean higher risks.
Basel Faulty?
New international banking rules could improve loan pricing, but have raised concerns at the Fed.

Now Moving Offshore: Your Next Loan
U.S. bank officials warned in a Senate hearing Tuesday that European and Asian banks will soon be able to offer cheaper funds to U.S. corporations unless regulators change their approach to the Basel II banking accord.
Small Business Fights Borrowing Squeeze
"I am convinced that creating a large disparity in capital standards between the large and small banks will lead to increased consolidation, leaving fewer banking choices for smaller businesses," a former FDIC chair testifies.
Default Swap Faults
A dispute in the Enron bankruptcy case highlights troubling questions about credit default insurance.

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