Safety, resilience, flexibility, innovation, and underlying all, business continuity

  • In Q2 2020 we faced the new challenges brought about by Covid-19, in earnest. Lockdowns had already started in some jurisdictions in Q1, but it was Q2 that gave a clearer indication of the many ramifications we would face in 2020 and, most likely, also in 2021 as a result of the pandemic. With the easing of lockdowns and the beginning of the summer period, some may think a return to (the "old") normal could be hoped for by the end of the year. Unfortunately, as I write this we know already we must brace ourselves for a longer challenging period. Covid-19 cases easily gain momentum when safety measures are not strictly observed. And so, we are by now fully engaged in the "new normal" where safety, resilience, flexibility and innovation are all at the forefront of how we do business and fight to ensure business continuity for our clients and ourselves. As you read our news from the region, you will notice finance business continues in all its various forms and areas: long awaited regulatory changes were introduced in the Czech Republic, and new ECJ rulings were passed concerning consumer protection in Austria and in Romania. Two areas already stand out and are expected to continue gaining momentum: special situations (with two cooperative banks in Poland placed into forced restructurings, and a Romanian insurer declared insolvent by the regulator), where further developments are expected once the moratoria introduced during the lockdowns expire towards the end of the year, banks will have to face the impact of Covid-19 on their customers; and green and ESG-linked finance where sponsors and lenders alike seem to gear up to take advantage of the EU investment and financial support programmes. As before, we will become stronger through these new challenges and continue supporting our clients while adapting and growing in the "new normal".

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