A GRUBBY MESS
Time was when bankers were held in the same esteem as doctors, magistrates and lollipop ladies in the pillars-of-society stakes.
That was before years of bail-outs, crisis, greed, excess and mis-selling scandals. And now… a week of clangers and revelations which have left the credibility of Britain’s financial institutions not so much hanging by a thread, but splattered messily all over the floor.
It’s been a week where a ‘technical glitch’ in RBS’s system prevented thousands of customers getting to their money, leading to Nat West’s online Ideas Bank being festooned with uncomplimentary messages. (The ‘fat fingers’ of a junior employee who accidentally pressed delete got the blame, calling to mind that episode of The Simpsons where Homer Simpson becomes morbidly obese in order to work from home.)
Next came the revelations that Barclays had been fiddling rates, resulting in fines to the tune of £290m, and Bob Diamond and other Barclays bigwigs generously foregoing their eye-watering bonuses. So, next time you’re found to be grossly negligent at work, just offer to waive your bonus and see how it pans out.
As if that wasn’t enough the Financial Services Authority has found that HSBC, Lloyds, RBS and Barclays (them again) have been stiffing Britain’s small businesses – whose success is so vital to a recovery from an economic firestorm which was the creation of the banks – by mis-selling them interest rate-hedging products. It’s hard to swallow, given the punitive measures imposed by banks if any of us accidentally go overdrawn by a few pence. Frankly, it’s such a grubby and unpleasant mess that it’s difficult to dredge up ‘LOLs’ in a supposedly light-hearted weekly finance e-mail.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
A conversation between a trader and a Barclays worker does absolutely nothing to dispel that ‘City Boy’ stereotype. What was that that Bob Diamond said about the ‘no jerks’ culture at Barclays last year?
SHAMELESS OLYMPIC CASH-IN OF THE WEEK
Pompous, overblown, and seemingly everywhere – the ‘brand synergies’ between the Olympics and Devonian stadium rockers Muse are plentiful. So, it was a natural fit when the ‘I Belong to You (+Mon cœur s'ouvre a ta voix)’ chart botherers were approached to supply the theme to the 2012 games.
'Survival’ is a rather florid affair, that even Freddie Mercury might deem a bit much. Have a listen to it below and see what you make of it.
Apparently, singer Matt Bellamy said the song is “all about winning,”, which makes the Money Shot think that they missed a trick by not asking Charlie Sheen to make a guest appearance. (2011 called – it wants it’s meme back. Ed)
In other pop-meets-the-Olympics news, music website the Quietus reported that bands and artists are being offered the not-so-princely sum of £250 to have their music used on various video screens around the Olympic park. What’s more, the organisers of the games are asking that acts who’ll be playing at the various ceremonies do so for free. You’d think that some of the sponsorship money would have stretched a bit further, wouldn’t you?
NEWS IN BRIEF
The continent may be teetering on the brink of an economic disaster, but at least we’ll be getting a bit more for our pounds on holiday. Because of all that frightening upheaval, the euro has fallen to its lowest level against the pound for several years.
The Institute for Financial Studies makes the bold claim that, at least when it comes to money, pensioners have never had it better.
One in three middle class families will be visiting budget food stores Aldi and Lidl this year.
RBS rather wisely decided to cancel its annual corporate knees-up to Wimbledon to sort out all that nonsense preventing its customers being able to use their bank.
ON GOCOMPARE.COM NEWS THIS WEEK“Look, it’s not you, it’s me. Oh, what am I talking about, it’s DEFINITELY you” Kristian Dando likened banking relationships to that of a romance gone sour, posing the question of whether it was time for a switch. Rachel England has a look at all the potential pitfalls of hiring a car abroad. We reported on Nat West’s services apparently ‘getting back to normal’.
Yes, it’s a parrot singing the theme song off ‘Spongebob Squarepants.’
This is the sort of thing that keeps you coming back for more every week, isn’t it readers?
Join us for another thrilling instalment of THE MONEY SHOT. In the meantime, why not email the editor with your letters. If we print them, you could receive a prized Gocompare.com stationery set and an autographed picture of Gio Compario, star of our ad campaign. Three are up for grabs every week. (Promoter: Gocompare.com Ltd)
*Marketing magazine’s ‘Most Irritating Advert’ 2009/2010