Credit crisis diary: Time for bankers to do the decent thing

Wednesday 18 March 2009 01:00

American politicians are certainly robust in their views. Take Senator Chuck Grassley on what greedy bonus grabbers should do now. "The first thing that would make me feel a little bit better toward them (is) if they'd follow the Japanese example and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say, I'm sorry, and then either do one of two things: resign or go commit suicide," Grassley said yesterday. "And in the case of the Japanese," he added, "they usually commit suicide before they make any apology". Quite how you apologise after committing suicide, Grassley didn't explain, but you get his point. AIG, one of the targets for his ire, called the remarks "disappointing".

Don't kid a kidder

The powers that be are naturally concerned about protecting us all from internet fraud, but are the conmen behind the scams all as sophisticated as is sometimes claimed? Take the email we received from a fraudster asking us to reveal log-in details for an HBOS account. It concluded: "Secure your Savings with Halifax one of the world's largest banks – your savings are safe with us". Looks like conmen don't read the papers.

Welcome to Britain, tax haven extraordinaire

French bank BNP Paribas is up in arms about a report in Le Monde, which accuses it of being a leading adviser to companies seeking to shelter in tax havens. BNP isn't the only one who should feel cross. The French rag basically seems to define tax haven as any country with a lower tax rate than France – topping the list of these pariah states, according to the newspaper, is the UK.

Behind every great man...

Good to see Lord Myners, the embattled City minister, was not left to face the lion's den of the Treasury Select Committee alone yesterday. He arrived with the usual phalanx of advisers, but observers were concerned about how touchy-feely Lord Myners was getting with one member of his entourage. Not another scandal, surely? Luckily, the woman in question turned out to be Lady Myners, there to offer moral support.

A reassuring constant in a changing world

Not everyone in the housing market is struggling. Staff at the Ombudsman for Estate Agents report that their workload hasn't shrunk a jot since house prices started crashing. Fewer sales, no mortgages and a price crash, but complaints about estate agents apparently haven't fallen at all.

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