By Ray Perman
Based on records and dozens of interviews with insiders, this account follows the financial institution of Scotland’s trip from being the financial institution of selection for the high-rolling Monte Carlo megarich to wasting 10 billion kilos. In 1995, the financial institution of Scotland celebrated three hundred years as Britain’s oldest advertisement financial institution; it used to be lauded because the “most widespread bank,” revered through rivals, applauded by way of traders, and depended on by means of clients. below 15 years later—reviled as a part of the unbelievable cave in of HBOS, the conglomerate it had joined—the financial institution of Scotland grew to become one of many high-profile sufferers of the credits crunch and its magnificent fall prompted seismic surprise waves in the course of the monetary global. during this advanced global of recent international finance, this can be booklet serves as a cautionary story.
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Additional resources for Hubris: How HBOS Wrecked the Best Bank in Britain
It acted as banker to a large proportion of the country’s employers and their employees. It banked charities and community groups, golf clubs and trade unions. It looked after the millions of some of Scotland’s richest men and women, but was also one of the first banks in the UK to offer bank accounts for all in disadvantaged communities. When The Big Issue wanted to open accounts for its homeless magazine sellers to deposit the cash they collected, the Bank’s Treasurer defied the money-laundering regulation which said that a bank had to verify the home address of all its customers and opened them all with the address of one of the Bank’s branches.
To put it bluntly, does that country have enough money to bail out any bank that needs it? Banks that grow too big for the country they are based in pose a serious threat. In the last decade the Scottish National Party used to boast of an ‘arc of prosperity’, including Iceland and Ireland. They wanted Scotland to be part of it. We don’t hear much talk of that now. Unless and until the eurozone ensures its banks are cleaned up we will not get economic recovery. Spanish banks are exposed hugely to a collapsed property market.
His bank would be scorned for its overweening ambition and short-sighted risk-taking. Newspapers would accuse him of bringing down his bank almost single-handedly and call him ‘the banker of last resort’ – the man who lent money when everyone else was too sensible to do so. Associates who previously wanted to get close to him would now give anonymous quotes to journalists saying that all along they had thought he had been too aggressive and taken too many chances. The financial regulator, which had given his bank a clean bill of health, would pursue him to admit to things he had never believed he had done.