Cable to cabal: man up
Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, has urged shareholders to "get a stronger grip" on the banks, where "incompetence, corruption and greed have been endemic".
After a week in which a computer glitch at RBS left millions of customers unable to pay bills or move money; rate fixing allegations engulfed Barclays; and the Financial Services Authority reached a settlement with banks over the mis-selling of interest rate hedging products to small business customers, Mr Cable said that we were "faced with a moral quagmire of almost biblical proportions".
Mr Cable added last week's "banking scandals" demolished the myth that the banking crash "was all the fault of a few colourful rogues". "We have been reminded, instead, that the rot was far more widespread. Incompetence, corruption and greed have been endemic in British banking," he wrote in The Observer.
Outlining steps to address "the mess", he said that banks need to be "made safe"; that steps to ringfence investment banking from retail banking needed to be implemented; and that there needed to be "accountability".
"Regulators are a backstop: they don't own banks," Mr Cable added. "The governance at the top of our leading banks has been lamentably weak. No one at the top of Barclays will take responsibility for systemic abuse.
Cable urges shareholders to get 'stronger grip' on banks
Business Secretary Vince Cable has urged shareholders in British banks to “get a stronger grip” on the boards and executives responsible for “systemic abuse”.
He said that nobody at Barclays was prepared to take responsibility for the rate-rigging scandal that has engulfed the company in recent days and that shareholders ought to take action.
“The governance at the top of our leading banks has been shown to be lamentably weak. No one at the top of Barclays will take responsibility for systemic abuse.”
He added: “Shareholders, the owners, have a major responsibility here. I am bringing in legislation to strengthen their control over pay and bonuses, through binding votes, but shareholders have to get a stronger grip on weak boards and out-of-control executives.”
In vain in a similar mood across the Pond:
Banks Conspire to Fleece the Public