Sunday, 3 May 2015

Banks Make A Mockery Of Their Self-regulatory #LendingCode

Readers may still be surprised to hear that Britain's retail banks remain self-regulated when it comes to their lending activities.

That means it's the job of their own Lending Standards Board to check that subscribers are complying with the self-regulatory Lending Code, not the Financial Conduct Authority (although there is a 'memorandum of understanding' between the two bodies written on the back of an envelope somewhere).

Of course, the Lending Standards Board tends to give its own members a clean bill of health...

Which is puzzling, because the LSB has just made the rather unfortunate discovery after reviewing complaints procedures that there is "mixed evidence to indicate that issues, once identified, [are] being reviewed specifically against the requirements of the Code."

In other words, the banks are blowing raspberries at the Code.

So, um, how could the LSB have given the banks a clean bill of health before now?

Does the FCA care? Or, in regulatory speak, "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"

It's been a farce from the very beginning.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

2015: The Year Our Political Class Went Rogue

April passed in stunned silence on this blog because I was waiting patiently for the UK General Election to get real.

Instead, our political classes went rogue.

Today, all the way from Greece to Scotland, there are no politicians who believe it is their job to ensure that society lives within its own means.

James Palumbo hit the nail on the head in his article for the Evening Standard this week. "In place of facing hard truths, our leaders offer unaffordable and undeliverable promises." The Institute of Fiscal Studies promptly confirmed it.

You might think our politicians went rogue years ago, and some of them did. But I think the last coalition was formed by people in such a deep state of shock at how badly the New Labour machine had transformed Britain's economic plight that they were genuinely committed to ensuring the country did not go broke. 

Since then, the endless process of distraction, deception and spin has meant that even the dreaded Tory machine has realised it can 'extend and pretend' just like the Greeks. 

These days nothing in politics is real. The same effluent is cycled from the pollsters to the media to the party machines, out the mouths of candidates and canvassers and into the eyes and ears of the deceived, who feed the same crap back into the polls. Every 'issue' - from health, social welfare and education to immigration, foreign aid, devolution and higher taxes for 'non-doms', 'mansions' and foreign corporations - is debated on the utterly false assumption that the country can finance whatever policy is touted.

If you thought Gordon Brown has had a rough ride, just imagine what will happen to the Prime Minister in charge when the truth really dawns.

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