Letter: Third World debt

Sir: Andreas Whittam Smith (Comment, 19 May) is wrong: there is no paradox at all in the concept of lender's responsibility. My father, a retired banker, describes what was dinned into him as the "canon of good lending": that lending is a proposition based on the borrower being able to repay and having a sufficiently good reason for taking out the loan in the first place. Any lending which runs the risk of becoming an unrepayable debt or ruining the borrower is bad lending.

That the Third World borrowers have on occasions been corrupt or naive is not open to question. But the real paradox is this: the poor saw little or no benefit from the loans, and are now being expected to bear the brunt of the suffering.


Cheltenham, Gloucestershire