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Part IV Conduct and Culture, 23 Banco Espírito Santo: Anatomy of a Banking Scandal in Portugal

José Engrácia Antunes

From: Governance of Financial Institutions

Edited By: Danny Busch, Guido Ferrarini, Gerard van Solinge

From: Oxford Legal Research Library (http://olrl.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 26 September 2023

Regulation of banks — Investment business

This chapter traces the history of the Banco Espírito Santo (BES), the oldest and one of the largest Portuguese banks. The BES was a Portuguese institution with one and half century of history. While the story of the BES collapse is to be fully unveiled, there is a set of plausible causes of its death which, at least in abstract, may be considered. A first possible cause of the BES collapse is the global economic and financial crisis of 2007–2008. In fact, this crisis brought to light some hidden vulnerabilities of the Portuguese banks. Another usual suspect for banking crisis is banking supervision: although it is not a supervisor’s role to prevent bank failures, supervisory oversight is crucial to reduce both the probability and impact of such failures.

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