I’m sure I can remember someone or other telling us all that it was outrageous that the regulators should insist, even try to insist, that people sitting on the board of a bank should know something about banking. And that the Co Op needed to sort itself out by getting one or two people who did.
I really am sure I recall someone telling us that. That it was an outrage that they were being urged to have neoliberal banksters around the place.
The near collapse of the Co-operative bank blew the chance to create a full blown challenger bank to shake up the high street, according to a parliamentary report which calls for further inquiries into the roles of the bank’s auditors and regulators in the scandal.
Former bosses should take the biggest share of responsibility, the report said, highlighting that the structure of the board led by former chairman Paul Flowers was “an accident waiting to happen”.
The report by the Treasury select committee into the aborted attempt by Co-op bank to buy 631 branches from Lloyds Banking Group concludes that Flowers’ appointment should never have been permitted by the then City regulator, the Financial Services Authority.
It also rejected allegations of political meddling in the sale of the Lloyds branches – code named Verde – allegations made by Lord Levene who told the committee that interference ruined the chances of a rival offer he was fronting for bid vehicle NBNK.
Co-op pulled out of its bid in April 2013 just weeks before being downgraded by Moody’s and revealing it had a £1.5bn capital shortfall. The debacle has ended with the owner Co-operative Group left with only 20% of the bank.
Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative MP who chairs the select committee, said: “It is not uncommon for deals to collapse. But in this case it was caused by the near collapse of Co-op Bank itself. Each of the backstops – Co-op Bank, KPMG as its auditor and the FSA as its regulator – failed to uncover the bank’s capital shortfall until it was too late. Each had a hand in this sorry tale. But by far the biggest responsibility lies with the Co-op Bank leadership.”
Now who was it who told us all that?