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Watch out! The ‘banksters’ are back

Watch out! The ‘banksters’ are back
They lay low on their yachts and in their country houses until the media criticism ran out of steam and they quaffed their cellars of fine wine until the protestors got bored and moved on, but now the ‘banksters’ are back, and the slippery sharks of the financial world are going to bite us again.

Given the harm they caused and the misery they inflicted on millions, remarkably few of the bankers have been brought to book.

The few big bankers who were unseated left with eye-watering pay-offs and have found comfortable new berths.

Fred ‘the Shred’ Goodwin, the man who drove the RBS Group, including the Ulster Bank, into an iceberg, departed with a £700,000 per year pension.

What Mr. Goodwin is up to now is not public knowledge, but there might be a clue in the fact that Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming stated, under parliamentary privilege, in a 2011 debate in the House of Commons: “In a secret hearing Fred Goodwin has obtained a super-injunction preventing him being identified as a banker.” My friends on the Riviera say he is to be regularly spotted in tax free Monaco.

Fred is not the only scot-free banker. Despite the litany of scams and manipulations and the repeated claims by informed observers that the financial meltdown could not have occurred without an undercurrent of fraud, no senior British banker has seen the inside of a jail cell.

Have the banksters joined the terrorists in being given one of Tony Blair’s “get out of jail free” cards?

Even with Fred out of the picture, RBS has continued to shamelessly snort up the cash. In 2008 it received a £46bn bailout. Last week it was revealed that all that money has been lost.

RBS continues to operate at a loss, even when legacy costs are taken out of the equation. A pretty poor performance you might think, particularly given the multiple technical problems that caused massive inconvenience to its customers.

Not so the banksters, they think they are doing a good job and have earmarked £576 million to pay themselves bonuses for 2013. That’s your money they are gorging on! This week RBS’s top executives are going to divvy up millions of pounds worth of shares out amongst themselves.

The banksters will say the bonuses are not quite as obscene as they used to be, but that is because new EU regulations have been brought in to try and reign in the greed.

The banksters have responded by hiking their salaries and flinging millions of pounds worth of shares at their executives. Bailed out banks HBOS and Lloyds will pay their chief executives £1m and more each in shares this year on top of their salaries and bonuses.

Astonishingly the government is devoting time and effort to fighting the EU’s efforts to limit these gross and gratuitous payments.

Heads they win, tails we lose.

The behaviour of today’s banksters is even making the old school sharks blush. George Soros, the man who broke the pound and made billions trading currency writes in his new book, The Tragedy of the European Union: ‘‘The banking sector is acting as a parasite on the real economy.” He claims that it is the bankers who are holding back real economic recovery.

He says: “The profitability of the finance industry has been excessive. For a while 35 per cent of all corporate profits in the United Kingdom and the United States came from the financial sector. That’s absurd.”

Soros claims that despite all the huffing and puffing little has been done to bring the banks to heel and to make them operate on a long-term sustainable basis. Across Europe he cites examples of the cosy crony corporatist relationships between banks, regulators, governments and politicians.

The banksters’ gluttonous behaviour is beginning to hurt again. UK house prices are increasing faster than economic growth in what looks like a repeat of the great bubble of the 2000’s. The banks are being generous with mortgages only because they are being underwritten by the taxpayer through the Help to Buy scheme.

Some analysts are describing the British housing market as madness, and it is likely that another correction, that is a credit crunch and price crash is on the way, leaving more people in negative equity and builders back on the dole.

Dodging lending is back with the taxpayer in the frame to cover the cost of the inevitable mess from day one. For the banksters, the taxpayers truly are the gift that keeps on giving.

Despite the talk of economic recovery manufacturing businesses are still struggling to get finance. The quantitative easing money pumped into the financial system by the government, under the expectation it would be lent on to real businesses has instead been used by the banksters to go gambling on in stock markets, another bubble about to burst.

While Gordon Brown and Ed Balls bear much of the blame for the crisis that unfolded five years ago, they did at least have the excuse of ignorance. For the current government to so pig-headedly allow history to repeat itself so quickly is reckless to the point of being criminal.

Author: Nick Garbutt


Last modified onMonday, 17 March 2014 01:45

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