What a ludicrous idea! Your editorial`s suggestion that the tax levy and ringfencing will cause HSBC to become a "weak bank" which, in turn, "will not make for a strong economy", ignores much empirical evidence (A bitter pill,10/06/15). You do admit to HSBC`s various scams like "having its share of PPI mis-selling", and the small matter of "money laundering" gets a mention too, but nowhere is it acknowledged that had it done anything to change the banking culture of profit-at-all-cost, and obscene bonuses to those who could make the most money for the bank, regardless of method or ethics, they would have avoided being fined far more than the amount paid because of the tax levy. No mention, either, of the £32000 a week paid to non-dom CEO, Stuart Gulliver, on top of his £1.2m salary, to get round EU bonus caps, nor of the bank`s role in rigging the foreign exchange markets, nor even of HSBC`s Swiss banking arm helping wealthy customers avoid tax. They have claimed that the bank levy prevents them paying a 5% rise on last year`s £6.3bn dividend to their shareholders, as if that should excuse their decision to sack 8000 workers who almost certainly had nothing to do with the misdemeanours.
Quantitative easing provided £375bn to the banks after the crash, which was meant to kickstart the beginning of a "strong economy", with the banks lending to British businesses; it didn`t happen, but nevertheless,"bank-bashing", according to you, "has probably run its course"! How dare any bank complain about regulation, bank levies and a corporation tax which is around 18 percentage points below the rate paid by companies in America? How often have we heard the similar threat that, if bankers aren`t allowed their annual bonuses, they will leave the country? If our politicians had any bottle at all, they would call HSBC`s bluff ; most of the electorate would be in favour of an 80% bonus tax, and of our participation in the EU`s financial transaction tax due in January 2016, so, in fact, the bank is treated far too leniently in the eyes of most people. Didn`t Mark Carney say last year that the issues facing banks were not the result of a few bad apples, but evidence of a rotten barrel?