The market has seemingly shunned European banks, perhaps remembering the near collapse of the sector in 2008. However, we think banks have the capital to absorb potential losses in the current COVID-19 environment. As part of the solution to this crisis, European banks could improve their ESG scores and enhance their investor appeal.
Shares of European financials sold off sharply from the onset of the coronavirus and price-to-book valuations have dropped to levels not seen since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008 (Figure 1). From the market’s point of view, the current health crisis is no different from the GFC.