Credit crisis diary: The bankers who sang for their supper

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The Independent Online

Yet more tales reach us concerning Sir Fred Goodwin's ultimately disastrous tenure at Royal Bank of Scotland. Sir Fred reputed to have been something of an authoritarian boss, apparently kept a karaoke machine at RBS's impressive head office on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Not because he enjoyed a sing-song himself, you understand – no, the idea was that getting top executives to belt out some tunes would hone their competitive instincts. What we now want to know is what was on Sir Fred's playlist? Simply Red's Money's too Tight to Mention, say?

Not worth the metal it's minted on

For those hoping America will lead the world out of recession now that Barack Obama's stimulus plan is in place, here's a cautionary tale. The Americans are updating the design of 1c coins and some $50m of new coinage has been commissioned. Made of copper-plated zinc, each coin costs 1.4c to make. It hardly fills you with confidence.

Don't call us, we'll try to call you

As wearied hacks arrived home last night from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which gizmo were they most excited about? Internet access, apparently – the online access back home, that is. You would have thought the world's biggest mobile telecoms conference would be the easiest place in the world to get wi-fi web access. In fact, delegates found connection speeds – when connection was available – were so slow, they were unusable.

Seeking Stanford's bean counters

Whose name is this we find on an archived page on the Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants' website, in a section commending recently accredited employers for their "commitment to training and support of ACCA students and members"? Why, it's CAS Hewlett & Co, the accountant at the centre of the Allen Stanford affair. Sadly, ACCA has little to offer in the ongoing search for any staff of CAS Hewlett.

If pet food is too pricey, don't feed them this

In these difficult financial times, here's one way to save money: keep your pets away from your wallet. The Bank of England has just published statistics revealing it received almost 5,000 claims for a total of £113,000 last year from people whose bank notes were chewed or even eaten by a pet. Who knew you could even claim for such losses – and why has there been a 23 per cent increase in such claims since 2007?