James Moore: Blast from big-shot bank chiefs is way off target

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Outlook Once again the bigwigs of the banking world have been at the Treasury Select Committee.

Under Andrew Tyrie, these sessions don't quite resemble the Chinese-style "speak bitterness meetings" that they used to.

But there is still always the potential for some good knockabout stuff, particularly when bankers get as whiny as they did yesterday.

Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Stephen Hester suggested that all the new regulations he faces will make investors see British banks as "a dumb place to put more capital".

He seems to have forgotten that it is the taxpayer whose capital is propping up his bank right now.

As for HSBC, it is fond of puffing out its chest because it took nothing from the taxpayer even though it came closer than its directors like to admit, thanks to its disastrous adventures in the US sub-prime market.

HSBC chairman Douglas Flint criticised a proposal by the Independent Commission on Banking to make banks hold more loss-absorbing capital via "bail-in" bonds.

He was at pains to stress that the bank isn't holding a Walther PPK to the Government's head as it ponders relocating. But he said the bonds' alleged £1.6bn cost is "too high to ignore".

Perhaps just a Beretta then?