THE BLOG
26/11/2013 16:02 GMT | Updated 26/01/2014 05:59 GMT

Banking Reform - Don't Hold Your Breath

The banks are still making headlines. And predictably for the wrong reasons. The latest RBS news is that it forced small and medium sized businesses out of business so that the bank could buy up their assets at below market prices.

Those are words, but to an entrepreneur, her business is her baby. You stay up all night building it, you agonize over its growing pains, the people it employs are like family. When a bank forecloses - i.e. snatches back the money it lent - it's just like a bereavement.

Who knows what would have become of the businesses forced into closure by the overwhelming greed of banking? Who knows what technical and imaginative skills have been lost. Who knows how many people were forced out of good work and flung onto the shivering heap of statistics known as the unemployed?

What we do know is that these things happened, and from the account of Lawrence Tomlinson, whose report went to the UK government today, they happened to too many.

Banking practices have gone from shoddy to downright cruel. There is no compensation which can bring back the living thing which is a business. Nothing can take away the agony and the pain of knowing just how badly you have been treated, just how wrongly you have been judged.

Five years on from the banking disaster of 2008, nothing has been learned, no heads are on a plate. In fact the absolute opposite has happened. Bankers continue to receive exorbitant bonuses, continue to break the rules and continue to get away with it, now and evermore - until real change is made.

No Financial Transaction Tax, no new Banking Act to limit commercial bank securities activities and break the bond between commercial banks and securities firms, not a whiff of taking the ability to create money away from the banks and not one single sign that the government would create money free of debt to be spent into the real economy for the common good.

The same old disasters are set to repeat themselves. Property booms and busts, borrowing booms and busts, financial market booms and busts. Like graffiti in Paddington, the writing is never off the wall.

Banking reform is needed now more than ever. George Osborne has said he will not separate retail banking from investment banking, yet that is precisely what is needed. So if you're waiting for government to step in and fix the problem, don't hold your breath.