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By Richard Roberts, Christopher Arnander (auth.)
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Additional resources for Take Your Partners: Orion, the Consortium Banks and the Transformation of the Euromarkets
Some, notably Warburgs, Rothschilds and Hambros, played leading roles in the development of the Euromarkets and they had much to offer the other shareholders as regards international expertise and entrepreneurial culture. For the merchant banks, participation in a consortium bank was attractive because it allowed them to develop business from which they would otherwise have been excluded because of their relatively small capital base. They hoped also to gain access to the resources and clients of the large commercial banks that were their fellow shareholders.
In the first phase, a total of 27 banks were formed: 13 of them, including Orion, were generalists, with wide-ranging objectives and multinational bank ownership; 14 had a regional focus, in 9 cases a one-country focus. After the banking crisis arising out of the collapse of Bankhaus I D Herstatt in June 1974, consortium banks found it difficult, in varying degrees, to raise money from the inter-bank market; Herstatt was described by Gérard Legrain of International Mexican Bank as ‘the wicked fairy over the bed,’ which haunted consortium bank treasurers and hamstrung their business.
In 1980, only six of the world’s top-50 commercial banks had no significant consortium bank interest and four of these were not active overseas. The other two exceptions were Citibank and Lloyds Bank. 18 Lloyds Bank had been tempted by consortium strategies, such as the ambitious, but abortive, Intercontinental Banking Services19 in 1967, but in the early 1970s chose to stay aloof, perhaps contributing to its later success. ’21 Among the London-based consortium banks, it was usual, but not universal, to have a UK clearing bank or merchant bank as a shareholder.