Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Will lightning strike twice?

Pop quiz: The BBC has kindly handed the Barclays CEO a special platform to use to convince us all that banking has learned the lessons of the past and is committed to changing its ways. Is this a reference to:

a)      Bob Diamond (as was) giving the inaugural Today programme business lecture in 2011 about how banks needed to be good citizens and restore public trust?
b)      Antony Jenkins guest editing the Today programme today on R4 after giving a speech organised by Robert Peston on rebuilding trust in banks?

You decide. In the meantime, Robert Peston’s latest blog was interesting but only because of what it left out. It didn’t mention how so many banks were run into the ground by the sheer incompetence of executives handed mega pay packages for being competent right up until it turned out they weren’t. Saying that, it did quickly run thru the litany of crimes, institutionalised frauds, industrialised miss-selling scandals and so on that the bulk of the banking industry has perpetrated in recent years. But, it failed to mention how many people had actually gone to prison as a result. 

Oh hang on, no one has and as long as that's the case i.e. as long as bankers remain above the law regardless of what they do to customers, it's difficult to see, regardless of how lovely the BBC is towards it, how the industry can rebuild public trust (moreover the threat of going to prison AND having pay and bonuses stripped as a result of their being the proceeds of crime would also function as a pretty nifty deterrent).

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