Pillars of respectability?

by Robert Moffat September. 29, 2008 3069 views

Today is a momentous day. OK there have been many momentous days recently but today saw the fall of Bradford and Bingley. And why is that momentous in these days of ever more financial failures? Bradford and Bingley was the last of the building societies (savings and loans in the States), that had transformed its-self into a bank, to survive.

Back in 1989 Mrs Thatchers government changed the legislation here so that Building Societies could turn themselves from boring steady and safe mutuals to new-age wizzy quasi banks! And in the process what did they do - they paid out huge amounts of cash to savers (cash which should have been used to strengthen their balance sheets) in order to persuade them this was such a good thing. At the time I was still working for Nationwide - which has stayed mutual and safe! But at the time there were howls of protest that we had not followed the Abbey the Woolwich and so on. And in a way I am glad this has happened - because it shows that when you take perfectly safe, well run but boring institutions and try and turn them into something else which appears to be primarily motivated by greed it does not deserve to work! So lets have a cheer for mutuals and hope that in future a sensible mortgage market will operate funded by traditional building societies in the way it worked so well in the past.

Another one of Thatcher's legacies coming home to roost!

Symbols of a bygone age - the canal - dating from the 1820's and an old chimney - date unknown but symbolising the industrial age with the three towers at Canary Wharf in the background - one belongs to HSBC, one of the others to Citybank.

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Robinray 12 years, 8 months ago

Hear! Hear! Let's hear it for the chimney! The Cheeky Girls will now sing their new hit: The Greedy Boys. Altogether now, 'We are the Greedy Boys', etc. Quite an ominous picture now, that view of Wapping. It should be renamed Whopping as in Whopping Great Disaster, don't you think Bob? Look after that cold; we can't afford to lose you...

12 years, 8 months ago Edited
Jennye 12 years, 8 months ago

great post!!

12 years, 8 months ago Edited
Carol 12 years, 8 months ago

terrific post

12 years, 8 months ago Edited
Tomie Poodle 12 years, 8 months ago

great shot and well said!

12 years, 8 months ago Edited
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