Confidence in the financial services sector is at an all-time low. In 2008, the bankers’ greed and folly brought parts of the global economy to its knees.
It ushered in an age of austerity that placed a terrible burden on those at the bottom of the economic pyramid.
A torrent of mis-selling scandals caused misery for consumers and lumbered many of the largest banks with hefty “legacy” payments. There has never been a stronger need for a tough regulator who can pound their fist on boardroom tables and demand victims of banking misconduct gain justice.
Yorkshire MP Kevin Hollinrake is one of the fiercest critics of the current regulatory landscape because he believes it fails to provide speedy access to justice for any small business owner who has been bullied by the banks.
He has now denounced as a “whitewash” the Financial Conduct Authority’s final report into GRG, the Royal Bank of Scotland’s controversial restructuring division. The 78-page report failed to say whether the FCA would have been able to bring a successful case against the GRG managers, even with new powers. Mr Hollinrake said the report was supposed to consider the “root causes” of the problems and to see if senior management at RBS knew about the controversy. “They have manifestly failed to do this,” said the Thirsk and Malton MP.
The best way of shoring up confidence in financial services must be to identify those responsible for past errors and punish them. Without effective sanctions, small firms will continue to be wary of the big banks and our economy will suffer.