Spare a thought for your bank manager

Spare a thought for your bank manager!

In fact in some cases, scorn and derision is piled upon the likes of tax collectors, referees, traffic wardens and bank managers (with apologies to tax collectors, referees, traffic wardens).

Rightly or wrongly, some members of society get little
respect from the community in which they work. In fact in some cases, scorn and
derision is piled upon the likes of tax collectors, referees, traffic wardens
and bank managers (with apologies to tax collectors, referees, traffic wardens).

When I joined the banking profession many years ago, I
worried that my working-class routes might hold me back and prevent me from reaching
the apparent dizzy heights of being a bank manager -in those days it was a
position held in high regard.

In the last few years we have seen the global banking
industry nudge the world economy into recession, from which we have still not recovered.
More recently, RBS / Natwest group have experienced a virtual collapse of part
of their IT system leaving customers financially stranded. HSBC have been fined
for failing to implement anti-money laundering checks, whilst Barclays have
been publically flogged for allegedly fixing LIBOR (in mitigation, you can’t
fix a rate alone – there are bound to be other banks involved). And all of this
on top of accusations that businesses have been let down by banks by not
providing support when they most needed it.

So, if you feel disappointed or angry with your bank manager
because you feel he or she has let you down, please don’t – you’re just
shooting the messenger! In reality the problems have been caused by investment
bankers, whose roles are about as close to the occupation of a local bank
manager as that of a milkman or brain surgeon. It is as a result of the actions
of investment bankers and very senior decision makers that the banks are having
to rebuild their own balance sheets. Despite assertions to the contrary, there
is still little evidence that the banks have restarted supporting struggling SME
businesses.

The Bank of England has recently announced two new stimuli
which it is hoped will increase the availability of bank credit to consumers
and businesses. One will allow the banks access to short-term money to deal
with “exceptional market stresses”.

The other will make available
funds to the banks at a cheap rate conditional upon them increasing their lending.
Only time will tell if these succeed where other schemes have failed.

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