Mr Duran’s Borrowings

Up until 2008 banks in the developed world were in the mood to lend money. They generally did not ask too many questions and wanted to grow quickly and make a great deal of money for the bankers who ran them and also as an afterthought for their shareholders. Continue reading

Fraud Helps Stimulate the Economy

Lloyds banking group, which includes the Halifax and the bank of Scotland, has increased its provisions for its previous shameful activities. The provision for selling people payment protection insurance, which has been more akin to an old style confidence trick that it has to an activity that you would expect from a supposedly reputable bank, has been increased by £1.8 billion to almost £10 billion and the provisions for compensating businesses for selling them interest-rate hedging products has been increased by a mere £130 million. The latter seems suspiciously low figure. Continue reading

The Banking Crisis Continues

The banking crisis has not gone away, but is still with us. Banks have thinly disguised their shortcomings. They are still diseased, even though they have the appearance of modest health. Regulators, at the behest of governments, are trying to cure the patient without killing it. Whether they will succeed remains to be seen. Regulators are prescribing unpleasant medicine which will prevent banks from being as profitable as they once were, in order to try and reduce the risk of bank failure, which is catastrophic not just for the banks and their shareholders, but also for society. Continue reading

Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish

It seems an odd task for a Chancellor of the Exchequer. Mr Osborne is off to Brussels to trying to convince the European Community that its plans to restrict bankers’ bonuses to the equivalent of a year’s salary are wrong. The public have rightly identified that the economic problems which followed the bank’s bail out are largely laid at the door of bankers who used our money to gamble, and in gambling lost, as all gamblers do. The bankers were motivated to gamble by huge bonuses, so, the public perceives, anything that makes gambling with l’argent des autres is undesirable and should be restricted. Continue reading

Premium Phone Line Scams

Once upon a time we knew what fraud is. A scam, a con or a bit of skulduggery were easily recognised (after the event of course) and people tended to try and punish the perpetrators. Slippery Syd, a chap about whom I wrote a book, “the Master Con Man” used to spend huge amounts of time thinking up a scam, and putting it into practice, and then after having pulled off his “coup”  he usually ran away with his ill gotten gains, whether anyone was after him or not. Continue reading

The Value of Apologies

There is a modern style, almost a fashion, of demanding apologies. An apology given after a request for one is worthless, for it indicates that the person apologising did not regret his or her wrongdoing as soon as the wrongdoing became apparent. This touches the sincerity of an apology and an insincere apology is far worse than no apology at all; one might as well say that you are not sorry for your wrong doing. Continue reading

Our Crooked Banks

Banks Cheating? My goodness me. Surely not? Who would have thought that British Banks, established for centuries and servants of the economy their executives honoured and feted and given extreme wealth, would ever resort to rigging markets?

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The Personal Protection Insurance Racket

There is a line between criminality and legal behaviour and nowhere in the whole field of law is the line blurred and indistinct that it is in the field of fraud. If a burglar breaks into your home and robs you, once the burglar is caught we expect the burglar to be prosecuted and punished. If a bank sells you a product that you do not need and have no use for and it is an insurance product on which you will never be able to claim, you might expect the bank to be prosecuted for fraud and punished. Continue reading