Will the banks fall into line? And when will they start lending again?

By Hamish Champ

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Bank Uk

The UK's banks have taken a lot of flak for the economic mess we're now finding ourselves in.Yes, there's a global dimension to the current...

The UK's banks have taken a lot of flak for the economic mess we're now finding ourselves in.

Yes, there's a global dimension to the current recession. But UK banks have been put up as the villains of the piece closer to home.

Most of us have less money to spend - or we're less inclined to spend what we have as much as we used to. And we blame the banks.

Speaking with some ex-City colleagues last week I asked them whether there should more regulation of the nation's financial institutions. I was surprised both at their answer - which was "yes, there bloomin' should be" - and at the passion with which it was delivered.

Too many people were getting paid enormous sums of money for doing, well, not very much at all, they said.

The bonus structure of the City was less about rewarding excellence and more about fuelling one of humanity's baser instincts: greed. Ouch.

But the fact that City types were voicing these concerns I took to be a good thing.

In any business people are paid to do a job. A bonus has to incentivise better performance. If such a performance is not forthcoming, any bonus should be clawed back, not just paid 'on spec' and then reviewed the following year.

Lord Turner, the chairman of the Financial Services Authority, published his recommendations for improving the country's banking system last week, including restricting the amount banks can lend in the good times - and possibly limits on lending to homebuyers.

Turner described his plans as amounting to "a revolution". They didn't sound exactly like rocket science to me.

Meanwhile, speaking to a leading banker recently it seems he is taking a robust but nevertheless more positive approach to lending to the right pub operator.

More of the same please…

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