Saturday, July 05, 2008

Banking 2008

I went with a relative to close his Bradford & Bingley savings account last Wednesday. He was concerned about the bank's future stability and wanted to make sure his hard-earned was safe. The junior employee behind the counter tried to dissuade him, promising us that the bank was safe. So safe, in fact, that they were now recruiting and "look, we've all being given new uniforms!".

Not convinced, he went ahead with the closure. Fast forward to Friday and the "safety" of new uniforms and recruitment was exposed as a pretty hollow sham - the share price is now less than the rights offer to existing shareholders - and the hoped for American private equity investor has high tailed it back to the land of the free.

Shame that a once solid building society got suckered into the self-certification and get-rich-quick buy-to-let. Shame also that the chief donkey wallahs give the poor footsoldiers a dodgy script to play out to worried investors.

Northern Wreck and now Bradford & Bungley: northern-based demutualised former buildings societies on the get rich quick trai - one was unfortunate, but two looks like the start of a trend!