But the latter half of 2015 has seen a definite change in direction, with shiny new strategy updates being released, severe restructuring and substantial job losses.
The major challenge for European lenders is growing revenues when interest rates are so low. They also have to ensure investment banking operations return more money than their cost of capital. Additionally, banks are seen as being overextended in global regions that are suddenly weakening and many still have to deal with litigation issues following rate-rigging and foreign exchange scandals.
Barclays announced a new CEO this week, who will likely re-focus efforts on investment banking. Credit Suisse raised $6.2 billion in fresh capital through a rights issue and its chief exec, another new appointment, announced plans to scale back the investment banking business in favor of wealth management. Deutsche Bank, meanwhile, announced a raft of job cuts in a heavily anticipated strategy update.