James Coney  

Banks remember footwork for dance routine

James Coney

James Coney

Mark Carney, the ever-unquotable technocratic BoE governor, seems to be living under the impression that further rate rises will pile pressure on lenders to increase savings rates as the cost of borrowing in the wider economy rises.

Maybe he, too, has forgotten the neat footwork the banks put in to raise their margins. The banks, though, have not.

Nationwide must not follow bad behaviour of the banks

Nationwide really has taken a hammering recently for its decision to scrap phone banking services for payments. 

It then rankled me further when it announced its decision on savings rates. The society delivered the news via press release, but it failed to say what it had moved from. Further questioning revealed the rates had risen by as little as 0.1 per cent in many cases.

What grates with Nationwide is that its actions frequently betray its boasts of being an organisation on the side of its members.

Chief executive Joe Garner, formerly of BT’s Openreach, is proving inaccessible and out-of-touch. That he also gets £600 a day in expenses sends a message that he is doing the job for his own gratification rather than that of customers.

If Nationwide is going to take on the banks it must set higher standards.

It must be honest and transparent – not follow the bad behaviour of the rest.

Smith sets a good example

Once more Terry Smith’s Fundsmith features high on Hargreaves Lansdown’s list of most sought-after investments.

Mr Smith may live in Mauritius, he may rarely buy stocks, but his fund routinely outperforms its rivals.

Not only is he clearly a genius, but because he invests £200m of his own cash it makes all the difference to the psyche of running a fund.

As a personal investor, it gives me reassurance that when the fund manager has skin in the game, he is as afraid of getting burned as his clients.

James Coney is finance editor of the Daily Mail