Friday, November 02, 2007

Nothern Rock Nationalised

There is an old saying; 'if you owe the bank £1000 then you are in trouble, if you owe the bank £1000000 then the bank's in trouble'. Well now Northern Rock owes the Bank of England £23bn, and so the risks associated with that failing company have now been smoothly transferred from shareholders and depositors to taxpayers. The Bank of England, the FSA and the Treasury regulate banks in the UK, and all three have had a hand in this mess. The FSA failed to monitor Northern Rock's activities adequately, despite the fact that the Rock's business model was different to every other major financial institution. You would have thought that this would have brought some special scrutiny, but you would have thought wrong. Then there was the Bank of England's refusal to follow the other central banks in providing liquidity when the money markets dried up. The inevitable logic of that was that they were happy for a major bank to fail if it came to it, but of course they weren't so why take a course of action that would make it happen? Then we come to the treasury who sleepwalked their way into the first run on a major UK bank for a century. Let us be clear, Northern Rock is now effectively owned by the government who both finance it and guarantee its deposits. Safe in the arms of the State, Northern Rock's management are doing nothing to sort out their company, no closures, redundancies, repricing of products, nothing. In fact it is a question why those clowns are still running the show. It's not as if the Chief Executive is even a qualified banker.

No comments: