TEN YEARS to the month after RBS announced its first loss in four decades as the banking crisis paralysed the economy, the after-effects are still being felt by those customers whose businesses collapsed, or suffered unduly, because of the flawed financial practices which were being pursued at the time.
Yet, a decade later, it’s only thanks to the persistence of campaigning MPs like Kevin Hollinrake, who represents Thirsk and Malton, that there’s still pressure for a public inquiry to ensure lessons are fully learned so that bankers never again become ‘untouchables’ who cannot be disciplined for misconduct.
As the co-chairman of the increasingly All Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking, he believes the threshold for an inquiry has been met – he’s been championing this issue since he was elected in 2015 – while the Financial Conduct Authority continues to drag its feet.
After all, the opening text of Mr Hollinrake’s latest letter to FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey is fundamental to what is at stake. “The lack of accountability of senior figures in the financial services industry for the widespread destruction of British businesses undermines confidence in our financial services sector and is a threat to the integrity of the sector as a whole,” it says. “Our entire economic model depends on fairness, transparency, accountability and justice not only being done, but being seen to be done. As things stand, this is not the case.”
In the interests of consumers, and also all those in the financial services industry who are striving to uphold the highest standards, the Government and FCA should have nothing to fear from holding an inquiry along the lines suggested by Mr Hollinrake. The people who should be fearful of such an exercise are, however, those who should have no place whatsoever in a reformed banking sector.