Given the damage the banks have done to the country during the last decade, what havoc can they wreak in the coming eight years?
Especially when they know their days at the gaming tables are numbered – there could be a lot of business casualties in that time.
Small and medium-sized businesses have been among the worst hit by the actions of the banks and the subsequent recession.
What worries me the most is that deadline may encourage some even riskier activities over the next few years putting more pressure on small businesses.
What we are proposing seems to amount to continuing to stake a gambling addict who has till 2019 to get his act together, after which we’ll force him to.
In one breath the Vickers Report is suggesting the banks need time to adapt to this brave new world, but in the next admitting that they probably won’t and rules will be needed to stop them going off the rails again. Surely our own logic suggests there’s going to be more wreckage and soon?
Timing aside, I can’t agree more with the idea of forcing the ring-fencing of the retail banking operations from the ridiculously risky gambling of the investment arms.
These guys must be allowed to fail, if failure is where their decisions lead them. Like any other business they need to understand the actual risk of every deal they do. By forcing them to make these changes we are in effect doing them and ourselves a favour.