Crisis Lingers


The two major investigations going on in to the chaos at the Co-operative Bank and the apparent shambles at Royal Bank of Scotland show quite clearly that the detritus from the banking crisis is still with us.

There is nothing more to be said about the Co-op Bank, even if Lord Myners’ attempt to bring some order to the mess should be given time and the full support of the sector.

Any review now must by definition be backward looking, examining with a fine toothcomb how a once popular and highly-rated bank could find itself in so much trouble.

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The near collapse of the small retail bank assumes a much greater public, regulatory and political importance because it was once the leading ethical bank and its business model, at least theoretically, was that of a mutual.

At a time when mutuality is under fierce attack, the problems at the Co-op Bank have had a serious reputational affect on the rest of the mutual sector.

Prolonging the pain with rescue attempts, inquiries and blame and counter blame, will not help customers or the industry.

What is of equal interest to Co-op Bank customers is the outcome of their PPI and other complaints, which are now likely to be kicked in to touch now all eyes are focused on other matters.

The case involving the RBS is another matter. From all allegations, it appears as if the bank’s internal Global Restructuring Group are the main culprits.

There is the old good cop, bad cop routine, with an internal unit that is secretive even to senior staff.

In many out of control banks, and there is no suggestion the RBS was or is out of control, a single default if only for a few hours is enough for staff (the good cops) to refer the firm to internal security (the bad cops) who then come in in their jackboots.