Banking news continues to disgust, exasperate and confound; another watchdog to turn banking "into a respectable profession", Barclays` CEO to "set out eight new benchmarks", presumably having failed with his first plan to "transform" the behaviour of the bank. and, of course, the bumper bonus payouts, even though Barclays` "underlying profits" fall by £1.8bn. By the end of the year, it is estimated £80bn will have been paid in bonuses since the 2008 crash, and there we were thinking that bonuses helped bring about the financial crisis, because they encouraged investment bankers to take unnecessary risks. Silly us!
What we are always told is that banks have to pay obscene amounts of money in order for them to "stay competitive in the global market", and "attract the best people", and Jenkins actually used these words in his feeble attempts to justify bonuses on the "Today" programme! By this, Jenkins and other bosses really mean people prepared to put making profit for the bank at the top of their priorities, regardless of the welfare of their customers, or of the requirements of the economy. They don`t have to possess skills like evaluating business plans, analysing the risk potential of SMEs and whether they offer the prospect of benefitting the local economy, but they do need knowledge of how to use deception, to mis-sell products, to fleece customers, to fix interest rates, to hide the laundering of money regardless of its origin, to manipulate foreign exchange rates, and to devise scam after scam.
These are not the "best people"; many should be in prison, and the least they deserve is the imposition of a very high bonus tax rate, or a cap on their salaries, or both! The best people in banking, as in all other fields, do not have to be perfect, but they should be aware of, and grateful for, the taxpayers` generosity, and show some morality, at least, in their business dealings. As Jenkins said on his appointment, before his bank became involved in yet another scandal, "ethics need to come before profits".
Perhaps they should be forced, as one of Lambert`s new codes of conduct, to shadow a nurse, a carer, or teacher for a few days, to witness how compassionate and patient "best people" are, despite their long hours, working for rewards bankers and their ilk would describe as "chickenfeed".