The banks want to dictate how they are to be reformed. That’s like a convicted criminal wanting to impose his own punishment. They might not like tough reforms, but would we get anywhere if we took a soft approach?
Our banks, you’ve got to admire their front. First they get the likes of you and me to bail them out, then they insist on being able to keep their huge bonuses, and now they want the Independent Commission on Banking to soften its approach to banking reform.
Some of the leading banks have already put pressure on the Commission to water down any calls for reform. Reform that includes the break-up of the four big banks to split-off risky investment banking and greater protection for retail accounts – both recommendations of the Which? backed Future of Banking Commission.
The banks think such reform would hamper their ability to lend and support investment, claming that a tough approach would hinder economic recovery. Yeah, right, we wouldn’t be in this mess if someone had taken a big stick to them before the financial crisis. In any case, more competition would actually be good for consumers, businesses and the economic recovery.
Making out that they’ll be harmed by regulation of their structure is a bit rich. The banks are still free to conduct business – they’ve not been banished from the kingdom. And their pretty disastrous track record suggests that a soft approach won’t make them act any better than they have done so to date.
It’s time to make the banks lay-off the caviar, which we’ve been picking up the tab for, and eat some humble pie. In short, tough reforms would seem the only way forward if we’re to avoid a repeat of the banking meltdown that we’ve all had to endure.