Greig Aitken BankTrack, 04 August 2015
In advance of the UN climate summit in Paris, campaign groups are urging the banking sector to take one concrete step towards combatting the climate crisis, and quit financing coal.
It is hard to think of a UK business sector in more dire need of an image boost than the banking sector. The UK’s three biggest banks – Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and HSBC – appear stuck on a never-ending, Escher-esque scandal treadmill of their own making.
Round and round they go, ripping off small businesses (RBS), enabling Latin American drug cartels to launder billions and orchestrating tax evasion in Switzerland (HSBC), and blatantly mis-selling payment protection insurance to vulnerable customers (Barclays).
This behaviour is of course accompanied by obscene bonuses that the same banks have still seen fit to churn out to staff as regularly as clockwork every year since the 2008 crash.
Reporting from outside RBS’s City of London headquarters in November last year as a further multi-bank scandal concerning illegal foreign exchange rate manipulation was breaking, the Economics Editor of Channel 4 News, Paul Mason, visibly fighting back the expletives, let rip on air:
“I’m just sick of it, after six years why do we have to keep coming to do it?”
He was referring to yet more time spent covering yet more market manipulation, with little in the way of effective sanctions being dished out to prevent it, Mason’s angst summed up the UK public’s views about the banks.