Tag Archives: banking

Too unpopular to fail?


In 2008, financial services firm Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States. With over $600 billion in assets, Lehman Brothers remains the largest bankruptcy filing in US history. Under-capitalised and enormously leveraged with significant holdings of risky mortgage-backed and residential property-related assets, despite weeks of intense negotiations with regulators and prospective buyers no viable solution could be found and Lehman was allowed to fail.

In the ensuing market chaos, and following a G20 meeting in London in early 2009, the Financial Stability Board was established to monitor the global financial system and coordinate financial regulation among the G20 nations. One of the Financial Stability Board’s key objectives was to end “too big to fail”, the idea that these huge, inter-connected financial institutions with balance sheets comparable to the GDP of small nations were too complex and not capable of failing without having adverse effects upon the broader global economy. As part of a package of measures, the G20 proposed and adopted rules that would ensure that all globally and systemically important financial institutions were required to hold more capital, to segregate riskier investment banking and trading businesses from retail banking operations and, significantly, that upon the failure of the institution, the bank’s creditors have their holdings written down or “bailed-in” in order to avoid future tax-payer funded bail-outs.

Posted in Op-eds | 23 Comments

Farron blasts shelving of enquiry into banking culture

We already know that the Government tried to slip out lots of bad news (including crucial evidence of the hardship caused by the Bedroom Tax) in a giant Take out the Trash day before Christmas, but the Financial Conduct Authority used Hogmanay to slip out the fact that it wasn’t going to bother with publishing a review into banking culture. Apparently it “wouldn’t help.” Try telling that to the people who suffered as a result of one of the worst crashes in history.

Tim Farron was on this one straight away and ended up getting quoted pretty widely. He said:

Posted in News | Also tagged | 5 Comments

Opinion: Liberal Democrats should debate ways of liberating our economy from the power of the banks

“Stronger Economy Fairer Society” was the strap-line that took us into the devastating General Election of 2015.  Some members wanted a fairer society that would support a stronger economy but regardless of which way we place these adjectives and nouns, it’s still unachievable without liberating the UK economy from our five major banks.

As long as our five big banks have the power to create money when they make loans, and lend it back to us at a profit, it is very difficult to see how our economy can achieve anything other than consolidating wealth into the hands of a few.  The Bank of England (BoE) and business generally is having less and less influence on how our economy expands and grows. Not only do we need to challenge this ‘status quo’, we need to radically overhaul the system and liberate the banking monopoly so that our economy functions to support our marketplace.

Properties in London have been sliced and diced according to an economic system that is essentially controlled by five big banks and this has overly inflated prices – driving up rents and sales. Homes for families are now filled with rooms for rent that are advertised as flats. We have less than 20 square meters for a bed, cooking and toilet facilities and are charged £800 per month rent. Generation rent (typically graduate students), are unable to save to buy a home due to ‘market rents’ sucking every penny from their incomes.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 97 Comments

Opinion: There is a reason banks aren’t lending enough to small businesses – the regulator is to blame

Lloyds Bank, Leighton Buzzard - Some rights reserved by dlanor smadaSince the banks were ‘bailed out’ with taxpayers money, a regular refrain from across the political divide has been that the banks are doing decisive harm to the country by refusing to lend to small businesses.

If this refrain were accurate, banks would be denying capital to the businesses that create the jobs to engender a sustainable recovery, instead choosing to deploy the capital in complicated financial instruments that create little value, or pumping up housing markets, or in paying enormous bonuses to bank employees.

This latter is an argument that Vince Cable in particular was vocal in espousing, and as soon as the real state of the bonus culture, now much more shares based than cash based, becomes apparent, he will doubtless claim the credit for that.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 20 Comments

Opinion: Underpinning local enterprise through the banking system

Despite a last minute attempt to scrap criticisms of the big banks, the Lib Dems are now committed to a powerful programme to create a diverse local lending infrastructure in the UK.

And most important of all, thanks to the Rebanking the UK debate yesterday, the Lib Dems are now clear about how this great diversification is going to be achieved.

The big banks are going to pay for and mentor a new infrastructure of local banks, which will be geared up – and with the expertise they need – to lend money to a new UK mittelstand, the UK small and …

Posted in Op-eds | 6 Comments

Vince on Scottish independence: RBS would ‘inevitably’ move to London

It’s not often we hear from the Lib Dem business secretary Vince Cable on constitutional matters. But today he appeared before Parliament’s Business, Innovation and Skills Committee to discuss the implications for business of Scottish independence, ahead of September’s referendum. Here’s what he said (via the BBC):

RBS would “inevitably” move its headquarters to London if Scotland votes for independence, UK Business Secretary Vince Cable has claimed. Mr Cable told a committee of MPs that the bank would want to be based where it was “protected against the risk of collapse”. …

William Bain, Labour MP for Glasgow North East, asked

Posted in Parliament and Scotland | Also tagged , , , and | 4 Comments

Opinion: Shocking complacency in UK banking reform

In British politics there is one area of policy where popular sentiment and dire need strongly coincide. Banking reform.

Opinion surveys seem to suggest that it is Chancellor Osborne’s ‘Achilles Heel’. Indeed, senior ‘expert’ LibDems have expressed concern over the last three years about the pace of reforms. Now Labour has jumped on the bandwagon, and may reap electoral benefits. YouGov polling of a few weeks ago found…

… 67% thought was ineffective. Only 18% were confident that changes to the banking sector over the last few years were enough to stop a repeat of the banking crash. The

Posted in Op-eds | 12 Comments

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