UK

Paul Mason, Channel 4's Economics Editor, Is Sick And Tired Of Banks Behaving Badly

13/11/2014 10:36 GMT | Updated 13/11/2014 12:59 GMT

Sick and tired of dodgy bankers getting away with screwing up the economy for the rest of us? So is Channel 4 News' economics editor, who has been refreshingly brutal about the current state of banking regulation in the UK in a glorious two minute video.

Standing on the corner near the RBS HQ in London, Paul Mason despairingly asked the same question on many peoples lips - how do they keep getting away with it?

"I am actually just sick of that corner," he starts. "That corner over there where RBS HQ is. I’m just sick of it, after six years, why do we keep having to come and do it?"

"Well I’m here again at RBS because yet again they’ve done something wrong, but they’re not the only ones."

Referring to the latest in a long line of banking scandals, Mason explained that five UK banks have been caught out this week for using foreign exchange traders that ripped off their own clients.

Six banks have been collectively fined £2.6bn by UK and US regulators over their traders' attempted manipulation, including HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Swiss bank UBS and US banks JP Morgan Chase, Citibank and Bank of America have all been fined. A separate probe into Barclays is continuing.

But, Mason furiously asked "if the banks had the same scrutiny over the traders, and their own managers as they have over the camera crew standing outside it where you get a security guard asking you what you’re doing, we might not be in this situation.

"The world is global, the economy is global, so we need complex financial institutions.

"So if we are going to have a complex financial system, we’ll have to do something, a bit more radical, rather than all this cuff-link tweaking about, “we must do better.”

The reporter's voice is clearly strained with emotion as he points in the direction of the RBS building and says he has "sat in the room with the bosses of this bank and all the other… [heated pause where Mason controls calling bankers expletives] banks over these six years now, since it nearly went bust."

paul mason

There, he said, "I’ve sat in their rooms where they’re pleading in the most genteel tones, 'don’t over regulate us, please don’t make a criminal offence possible to commit in the boardroom, don’t make it possible for us to go to jail, otherwise nobody talented will come and run these banks.'

But, at the end of the day, he highlights - even in the wake of this week's foreign exchange investigation - no one is being punished, no one is facing any criminal charges.

This is despite there being transcripts of the chat-room discussions of where the rigging of the market took place.

"What about the managers who ran this place since 2008 to 2012-2013? They walk away with what? Reputation unscathed," Mason asks.

"We really deserve a better banking system because everybody on this street who doesn’t work in it is also reliant on it," he passionately says.

"All we ask, all we can ask, is that the regulators do their job proactively. That they actually get on the case, just like the security guards outside here, and the CCTV cameras there, and the City of London police, they get on the case and stop wrong doing – what’s so hard about it?"

Somewhat unsurprisingly, the rest of the general public seemed to agree with the Channel 4 reporter, praising him for his emotional outburst.

Paul added later that the video had actually only been made "after I'd calmed down."