Friday, May 01, 2009

Bankers made 'astonishing mess'.

At the very time that bankers are wailing that they might have to leave the country because the government have imposed a 50% tax rate on people earning over £150,000 a year, the Treasury committee are reminding all of us that it was the "reckless behaviour" of these bankers which caused a national debt which will take generations to repay.

"Bankers have made an astonishing mess of the financial system," said committee chairman John McFall.

The MPs supported the various attempts of the government to bail out the banks and the shore up the banking system.

But they criticised banks for increasing their charges and fees to small business borrowers.

"The culture within parts of British banking has increasingly been one of risk-taking, leading to the meltdown that we have witnessed," said Mr McFall.

This is what I loathe about the recent stories in which bankers bemoan the fact that they are now being asked to pay 50% in tax on earnings over £150,000 to help to try and write off the massive debt which their gambling produced.

It's as if they simply refuse to accept that they brought this situation about. And they certainly feel no responsibility to help pay off the debt which their reckless behaviour incurred.

Nor has their behaviour greatly improved since they were bailed out.

As well as criticising the behaviour of banks in the past few years leading up to the start of the international financial crisis, the MPs also criticised their current lending polices.

The MPs held several sessions in the regions to gather evidence outside of London.

And they were told that, contrary to the claims now being made by banks, many small businesses were finding it very hard to obtain loans, except with much higher charges and fees.

"The committee deplores the behaviour of a number of those banks who have received so much public money and behaved in such an insensitive manner, particularly to established customers," said Mr McFall.

"There is clearly an unresolved inconsistency between, on the one hand, bankers' assurances that they are increasing their lending and, on the other hand, widespread and clearly sincere complaints that credit is difficult to obtain and increasingly expensive," he said.

Their is still an appalling arrogance to these people, a feeling that they really are "the masters of the universe" as Tom Wolfe famously called them, and an insistence on their part that they will deal with us on their terms and their terms alone.

As we practically own these institutions at the moment it would be a very good time for us to bang a few heads together, fire a few assholes, and reimpose some sanity into the banking system.

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