Sunday, 27 February 2011

Should ALL banks be held accountable?

Barclays pay 1% in Corporation tax, HSBC are keeping their heads well under the radar and Santander wash their hands as they were clearly not in the market back when the financial mistakes started happening. RBS still pays extravagant bonuses while making a loss and Lloyds has made a 'small' profit of a couple of billion whilst under state control, all of the Big 5 are pretty much back to trading where they were prior to them sending the economy over the edge.
To be fair Lloyds and RBS are starting to move their retailing practices to a more customer friendly, more helpful and less aggressive, way of doing things. I would hazard a guess that this is because they are mainly state owned and have been instructed to change their ways.
The other banks and the larger financial institutions have not changed. They are convinced that if they continue to trade the way they did before, this will help the economy because lots of people will be making money.

It is time to tell them they are wrong!

Firstly, It was not just RBS and Lloyds that caused the crisis - it was the actions of all of the banks. Those two got bailed out first in order to stabilise the market. If they had gone bankrupt or into administration, then the confidence in the other banks would have also fallen and they would have needed to be bailed out. Barclays DID get a bail out - it came from the Oil Monarchies of Bahrain and I would hazard a guess that HSBC and Santander also required additional funding from somewhere as well.
For the banks to now stand up and say that they should not be punished is disgraceful. For the Government to say that they don't want to lose 'talent' from the UK banks - hence they will go easy on the bonus rewards is disgraceful.  The fact that we the people swallow the rubbish that they throw at us - makes the problem our fault.

All of the major banks should be paying huge funds to the government to ensure that the deficit is paid off by them and not by the ordinary taxpayer. They have caused the problem, through their ineffective investment strategies. The stock market is over rated as the place to invest your money and banks love the fact that we give them permission to gamble on the stock market with our money and then take any profit that they make from it.

I believe it is in the banks interests to pay off the deficit and the national debt rather than the government making the cuts that it currently aims to do.  As cuts are made, people will restrict their spending and not be able to invest the way they had previously. More people will not be able to repay debt, whether that be credit cards, loans or mortgages and the Banks will end up footing the bill for it.  They will then have to put up interest rates and restrict their retail lending which tightens the spiral.  More people will lose their jobs, on top of the cuts and the deficit and debt will become worse - not better.

If the banks had a bit of long term thinking, they would see the opportunity to become 'the peoples friend' and they would offer to assist with the debt in return for lower tax rates in the future. I would class that  as a balanced pay off - they sort out the mess they have created, we re-structure the way they do business and they then receive a lower tax rate for the next ten years.

Failure to do this, will create the opposite outcome.  At some point, a bank will come along and see that there is an opportunity to improve the way banking is done and they will be rewarded for it.  If we continue as we are - we close down our vital services, we destroy the fabric of a fairly decent society and we widen the gap between rich and poor.  To me, it is a very easy decision to make - but I am not the one making those decisions.

No comments: