Online transparency of the banking sector
Purpose ‐ The objective of the present work is to analyse the web pages of the principal European financial entities, with the aim of assessing the degree to which they are already disseminating information by internet in preparation for implementing the new requirements for transparency introduced by the New Capital Agreement of the Bank of International Settlements of Basel (Basel II). Design/methodology/approach ‐ The study takes as its reference the literature existing on the examination of the quality of web pages, in particular the provisions of the Web Quality Model (WQM), and the importance of the content as a key variable in the quality of web pages. The normative requirements are converted into a disclosure index that is used to score the corporate web sites of all the banks quoted on the EuroStoxx Index. A linear regression analysis is performed in search for a relationship between size and degree of web transparency in the financial entities analysed. Findings ‐ The analysis of these entities shows that, to a certain degree, they have anticipated Basel II, and their web pages present a significant proportion of the information that will shortly be required. They seem to recognise the advantages of anticipating these new rules, in particular, and of greater transparency in general. Practical implications ‐ The banking sector is responding efficiently to the requirements of the digital society, by greater transparency on the web and, in consequence, its image and the confidence of depositors are improving. Originality/value ‐ Transparency in the banking sector is a topic of great interest in the current turbulent business environment. In these studies a systematised analysis is offered, to give a preview of the situation of generalised transparency that is coming closer through the requirements of Basel II.