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Making the banks serve you

In a speech at the University of London last week, Ed Miliband spoke about the banks and the City of London being too powerful. I won’t go too much into the details of what he said, but amongst his rhetoric, he proposed splitting up the major banks and ensuring that “instead of you serving the banks, the banks will serve you.”

Now think what you will of the exact details of their proposals, but I remain quite sceptical. Politicians have talked and talked about trying to ensure that the banks can serve the interests of individuals and small businesses. And all we tend to see are small schemes which don’t make much of an impact, or large proposals which never really amount to anything.

And by the way, my comments are not a party political message – just look at the tsunami of banking initiatives produced by the government (and all the other political parties). I just wonder how many politicians have real experience in dealing with a bank, like trying to speak to someone, filling in lengthily application forms, and not being able to get an answer.

If politicians really wanted to show that they wanted to introduce banking reform, then they should really look to try something meaningful. Actions speak louder than words, and it would be great if we were to actually see government policy which actually allowed small businesses and individual customers to be given the same rights as shareholders and multi-million pound companies.

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