In a damning report into the downfall of HBOS, the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards lays the blame squarely at the door of the trio that led the bank from its creation in 2001, via the merger of Halifax and Bank of Scotland, until its collapse in 2008.
“The HBOS story is one of catastrophic failures of management, governance and regulatory oversight,” says commission chairman Andrew Tyrie. “The commission concluded that primary responsibility for these failures should lie with the former chairman of HBOS, Lord Stevenson, and its former chief executives, Sir James Crosby and Andy Hornby.”
OK, let\’s take that at face value.
Does this mean that we should therefore regulate spivvy trading, tax transactions and generally close down the speculators?
No, not really, For HBOS didn\’t really do those sorts of things. They went bust the old fashioned way. They lent too much money to people who couldn\’t pay it back.
This won\’t stop the idiots of course but HBOS was in fact \”investing\” in the \”real economy\”. Lending money to people who actually did things. Among the things those people did was lose the money: bye bye bank.
And all of these calls that banks must abandon casino banking, must return to their roots in financing real activity…..this is what HBOS was doing and this is what bust the bank.
As I say, this isn\’t going to stop the idiots using HBOS as an example in their rhetoric. But we can at least laugh at them for their idiocy as they do.