Things have suddenly gone pear-shaped for HSBC. A row in the boardroom, and now a banking investigation that could break it up.
Still here's a spot of good news that might give the new management team at HSBC some reasons for optimism. Sir John Vickers, head of the Government-backed inquiry, can, from its offices, see branches of Barclays, Lloyds and Co-operative, as well as the first branch of the new Metro Bank. No HSBC, however. Out of sight and out of mind?
An unusually honest banker
Quote of the day is to be found in the new issue of Euromoney magazine, which reports on a senior US banking source who engaged his mouth just a little before his brain. "The worst thing is the uncertainty," the gentleman in question reportedly said of the debate over how to implement the Basel III banking rules. "Just give us a set of rules and then we'll figure out how to work round them ... I mean work with them."
City set to hit the right note at last
It's reassuring to know that despite the financial crisis, the City carries on as it has done for hundreds of years. News reaches us that "Alderman Roger Gifford was installed as the 10th Master of the Worshipful Company of International Bankers, at Drapers' Hall on Wednesday". It's a wonderfully oxymoronic title in the current climate, but we wish Mr Gifford, a former Master of the Worshipful Company of Musicians no less, all the best.
The wrong time to be boasting
With somewhat unfortunate timing, the latest issue of India Digest, "the fortnightly publication of the High Commission of India, London" lands on the Diary's desk. The front page is largely filled by a report of Dr Manmohan Singh's promise to "create an environment for India's progress". The Indian Prime Minister elaborates: "We are building modern infrastructure that will stand up to the challenge of a fast-moving economy". Just standing up full stop would be a start.