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Global Banks Turn Inward With Pandemic Upending Priorities

  • National service and atonement for 2008 are driving decisions
  • Domestic focus may endure long after the coronavirus recession

The coronavirus pandemic spurred a turn toward nationalism around the world. Now banks are in the vanguard of the movement, central to government rescue efforts in the face of the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, headquartered in Milan, is reinforcing an “Italy first” lending policy. Beijing-based Bank of China is retreating to its home market after a big push into the Middle East. In Frankfurt, Deutsche Bank AG put Indian expansion plans on hold while throwing resources at Germany. Bank of America, with its head office in Charlotte, North Carolina, is among several U.S. institutions being more selective in their European lending.