We commonly hear that the financial crisis arose because we took on too many debts and the banks took too many risks. But we see few explanations of the mechanics that allowed this to happen.
The Good Banking Forum includes a unique range of leading figures from academia, finance, politics, the law, trade unions, consumer and civil society groups that are demanding real reform of the banking sector.
The Forum emerged from the Good Banking Summit, organised by nef (the new economics foundation) and Compass in May 2011. The Forum challenges the limited scope of the Independent Commission on Banking, will mobilise public pressure for ‘Good Banking,’ and is campaigning to break-up the banks as a necessary first step.
Archive for September, 2011
Following publication of the ICB Final Report, the Treasury Committee is to hold an evidence session with Sir John Vickers and his fellow Commissioners on 10 October 2011.
The Committee invites interested parties to make written submissions ahead of this session on points in the Final Report they believe the Committee will find relevant for their cross–examination of the ICB
The Good Banking Forum will be making a submission and would like to hear your ideas. To make a suggestion just contact us or make a comment on this post.
Good Banking Forum say Vickers has only recommended 1 of 25 reforms necessary to make banking safe and socially useful
Analysis from the Good Banking Forum suggests that if the recommendations made by the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) are implemented they will fall short of the fundamental restructuring of finance that is necessary.
This European Conference on Banking and the Economy co-sponsored by the New Economics Foundation should be of interest to readers of this blog. The conference takes place at theWinchester Guildhall, The Broadway, Winchester, SO23 9GH on Thursday 29 September 2011. A bit of background to the conference is provided below.
The ongoing financial crisis has thrown a spotlight on banks’ role as creators of credit and how their investment decisions determine how economies develop. This conference will explore the past, present and future role of banks and examine how the financial ‘operating system’ affects the economy, the labour market, asset prices and financial stability. With keynote contributions from Lord Adair Turner, Chair of the FSA and the Committee on Climate Change, this gathering will offer insights into the future of finance and a chance to participate in the development of ideas in this important field.
The Vickers Commission has forced the banks to make substantial reforms, but most of us are still tied into banking with the big financial behemoths. A local, approachable and public-spirited alternative is much needed.
Major proposals designed to reform Britain’s banking sector after its spectacular 2008 crash have been described as one of the biggest shakeups in a generation.
The process of reforming the banking system has begun. The Independent Commission on Banking’s report is welcome official recognition that the banking system is broken and needs mending. The New Economics Foundation (Nef) still believes that full separation of the banks is a cleaner, more efficient option than ringfencing. And the commission was never even tasked with two of the most important questions: to investigate what went wrong to cause the crisis; and to picture what a good banking system would look like. But it is a start.
Responding to the final report from the Vickers Commission today nef (the new economics foundation) and Compass (lead organisers of the Good Banking Foum) have criticised the ICB for not properly tackling the ‘too big to fail’ problem.
Neal Lawson, Chair of Compass, said:
“Three years on from a crash that they created and the banks are given 8 years to find their way through a ring fencing system that is bound to leak information and capital flows. Instead of recommending the simple and effective step of complete bank separation the British establishment has bottled it and the City has won again. Nothing changes; the state will have to under-write the banks, people’s savings will remain in jeopardy, businesses will be starved of investment funds and the bankers will still be rewarded with £millions in bonuses for taking reckless risks.”
Tony Greenham, head of Finance and Business at nef (the new economics foundation) said:
“The ICB’s report is a welcome official recognition that the system is bust. But the arguments against a full split are unconvincing. We know that full separation works – it worked for most of the last century in the US. This bureaucratic compromise is uncharted territory, and with ample time for the lobbyists to get to work there can be little confidence that it will be effective enough.”
“The suggestion that some of the largest and most powerful companies in the country, run by the most highly paid executives, need 8 years to implement reforms is a slap in the face to public servants who are being asked to radically restructure vital services within a matter of months.”
“This report does not deliver a safe and useful banking system. We have had no proper investigation into the causes of the crash, or into the conduct of the banks leading up to it. There is insufficient consideration of the broader public benefit, and nothing to curb the socially useless excesses of investment banking.”
The groups argue that the ring fencing model has many disadvantages compared to complete separation:
- Ring fencing doesn’t resolve the issue of some banks being effectively too large and too interconnected to be allowed to fail. We will still have banks with assets in excess of UK GDP. In addition, capital levels have historically poorly reflected the riskiness of an institution, and so we should not place undue faith in stricter capital requirements. This means that the risks of financial system will still be underwritten by taxpayers, with the benefits accruing to a small number of financiers.
There is a question of whether the public understand the subtleties of ring-fencing during a financial crisis or will the ‘universal branding’ of the ring fenced banks lead to a run on a bank’s retail arm anyway if customers perceive the investment arm to be unsound.
The ring fencing model provides less protection against financial contagion. The ICB acknowledged in its interim report that “full separation might provide the strongest firewall to protect retail banking services from contagion effects of external shocks”.
Compass and nef also have other concerns about the report:
To arrange an interview or discuss the response contact:
Joe Cox, Compass
m: 0779 688 4487 e: email@example.com
“All eyes will be on the unveiling of the final report from the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) tomorrow but those who want fundamental reform of the banking system may well be disappointed.