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António Horta-Osório breaks banking’s mould

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5 May 2011 In Lloyds bows to the law the Guardian’s financial editor Nils Pratley describes how the PPI misselling saga is likely to become a major turning point for Britain’s banks. The decision of Lloyds Banking Group’s new chief executive António Horta-Osório to set aside £3.2bn for compensating customers who were ripped off …

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Libor probe raises serious questions about banks’ behaviour

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28 March 2011 One of the biggest financial scandals of recent weeks involves the alleged “rigging” of Libor rates by a group of the world’s largest banks. One theory is that banks colluded to lowball interbank borrowing costs to deceive investors and quell fears about bank creditworthiness as the financial crisis …

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Mervyn King makes case for radical bank reform

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8 March 2011 It’s virtually unheard for the governor of a central bank to launch an outspoken attack on the integrity and purpose of his country’s banking sector. But this is what the Bank of England governor Mervyn King did last weekend. In an interview with former Telegraph editor Charles …

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C.S. Lewis on the greatest evil

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27 February 2011 “The greatest evil is not done in those sordid dens of evil that Dickens loved to paint but is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clear, carpeted, warmed, well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do …

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Hester is wrong. RBS has not put the worst behind it

In Blog by Ian Fraser0 Comments

24 February 2011 Stephen Hester, who has the unenviable task of rebuilding RBS after Sir Fred Goodwin’s eight-year reign ended so ignominiously in October 2008 — always comes across as as a measured and likable performer in media interviews. This one with Channel 4 News’s economics editor Faisal Islam is …

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Andy Haldane: how to break banking’s ‘doom loop’

In Blog by Ian Fraser2 Comments

21 February 2011 The Bank of England’s Andy Haldane gave a fresh perspective on the causes of the global financial crisis and ran through the UK central bank’s favoured cures at a recent lecture he gave to Irish thinktank the Institute of International and European Affairs. Haldane, the BoE’s executive …

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New Model Banker has work cut out at Lloyds

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9 February 2011 Dominic Morris, who took over as public affairs director at Lloyds Banking Group in December 2009, seems remarkably well connected. A former private secretary to both Margaret Thatcher and John Major, Morris sent out an email to all his contacts to let them know of his new banking …

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Project Merlin doesn’t do what it says on tin

In Blog by Ian Fraser4 Comments

8 February 2011 Project Merlin, the wizard scheme originally dreamt up in 2010 by ex-Barclays chief executive John Varley and RBS chairman Sir Philip Hampton, in the hope of  appeasing the government and drawing a line under the “banker bashing”, has descended into farce. The project started as bankers believed …