Further to CU's post, there's an interesting strand running through the BARC and RBS results. Here's Pesto:
RBS "generated record income for the first 3 months of the year - due in large part to astonishingly strong results from investment banking .. But the billions in extra revenue were wiped out by losses on loans and investments that have gone bad"
Barclays "is actually growing profits again - thanks to a boom in investment banking and the business of raising finance for big companies - which more than compensates for increasing losses on loans that are going bad"
So - the mainstream, 'real economy' banking is looking ugly. OK, Barclays is ahead of the game and RBS behind. But investment banking in today's climate ?
It seems most likely that it means the exploitation of a rich seam of opportunities for financial engineering in this bizarre era of TARPs, QE, restructurings, recapitalisation ... in short, tapping the epic (and poorly supervised) flows of global bunce.
Good on 'em ? Up to a point: it may as well be good old British banks that hoover up jonny foreigner's largesse. But isn't this just more of the same self-referential nonsense that got us here in the first place ?
Take a long, hard look at those increasing losses on loans that are going bad ... oh - and have a nice weekend !