Another week, another corporate monopoly recording huge profits off the backs of millions struggling to pay bills, feed their families and keep the lights on. This time it’s the turn of the big banks, which are reporting record profits driven by the interest rate hikes that the Bank of England has continued to ratchet up, despite its own admission that this may do little to bring down inflation, which is driven by high fossil fuel prices.
Today HSBC reported doubling its quarterly profits to £4.3bn for the end of 2022. The big five banks – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, NatWest and Standard Chartered – look set to post profits of £37.4bn
So, we’ve five big uns competing against each other. With some 400 others (roughly the number of banking licences in The City) making up the stragglers. That’s a plural then. Banks, not bank.
This ain’t a monopoly, is it Dearie?
Some will call me picky on this but a useful observation might be that starting economic analysis with reality could be helpful. We do not have a monopoly in banking in the UK.
A further reality check – we do not have high interest rates. CPI is 10%, base rate is 4%. Interest rates are therefore negative 6%.
Fran Boait is executive director of campaign group Positive Money