Credit crisis diary: McFall gets some help from the family

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The Independent Online

The Treasury Select Committee chairman, John McFall, was on typically robust form during yesterday's grilling of former bank bosses, accusing Fred "the Shred" Goodwin and friends of being coached for the hearing by PRadvisers. Mr McFall has the inside track on such practices – his son, Gerry, works for the City spinmeisters Bell Pottinger. McFall Jnr "is principally responsible for constructing compelling political narratives for his clients". Sounds like RBS and HBOS could do with his services.

Mann's pension paradox

John Mann, another Labour MP on the committee, was also keen to take the bankers to task, concentrating his fire on Goodwin and the fact that his pension is not related to the fortunes of RBS. John should know a thing or two about generous pensions – the scheme funded by taxpayers for MPs themselves is just about the most generous in the land.

Barclays is tired out

Mann also complained at yesterday's hearings about a cock-up on his Halifax bank account. He should thank his lucky stars he doesn't bank with Barclays. There, Robert Muriel, who holds 22,000 Barclays shares, was furious to receive a letter back from the customer relations manager Nicholas Willamson after he penned a letter to the chairman, Marcus Agius, complaining about the terms of the Middle East fundraising. Mr Williamson's response was even more infuriating. "I want to make it absolutely clear to you that we do not have to continue to justify our decisions to you," his letter said. "I must advise you our complaints procedure is close to exhaustion."

Give us bonuses now

Good to see the mob baying for blood outside the House of Commons as bank executives arrived for yesterday's hearings. But all was not quite what it seemed: the protesters weren't, contrary to expectations, angry members of the public lambasting the bankers for their incompetence or avarice. No, this demo was organised by Unite, which is concerned that ordinary rank and file bank staff might lose their bonuses.

Unite annoys the banks

Unite, by the way, is fast becoming a thorn in the side of the banks. It keeps announcing the banks' job cuts for them. The union got up the nose of Barclays a few weeks ago, announcing it was shedding 2,100 jobs before the bank got round to mentioning it. Yesterday, it was at it again. The news that RBS plans 2,300 job cuts emerged courtesy of a Unite press release.

businessdiary@independent.co.uk

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