In front of the TV recently, I found myself watching “Bank of Dave.” Hats of to Mr Fishwick for establishing his local bank in the face of the depressingly lazy and pig ignorant attitude of the civil service regulators with whom he was unable to get a meeting without the personal intervention of the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills. (That tells us all we need to know about officialdom in 21st century Britain.) These were the same regulatory bozos who failed to spot Lehman Bros, failed to spot LIBOR fixing when even the most myopic of commercial observers knew that something was amiss and…Oh let’s stop there!
Great TV, The Bank of Dave was too. I hope the banks were watching too as the programme focused on a local entrepreneur making funds available to local business…This in much the same way as the old style professional bank manager used to do when he was a respected member of the business community who understood his and his customers’ businesses rather than the unqualified target driven packaged-product peddling which characterises the modern so-called branch manager, the majority of whose ilk are now over-promoted clerks with no formal qualification in banking. Perish the thought that one might actually wish an appointment to see a real banker. Given the number of hoops one has to jump through to gain such a privilege, a trained circus animal is the only life-form likely to be able to qualify.
At one point, when Dave saw he was making a profit of £9k he did say that his bank was performing better that RBS by £2bn…All very drole although if I were Stephen Hester (CEO at RBS) and going to Dublin, I guess I wouldn’t start from here either!! Interestingly, I picked out that 98 of Dave’s 100 borrowers are repaying on time. The programme informed me that this is consistent with the performance of the main banks and I wonder if Dave should not be just a wee bit worried by that because it seems to me that he might well be storing up trouble for the future. That said, the programme made for very engaging viewing and it did point the way forward because it is the sme sector which will lead this country out of recession.
On a related tack, and with reference to my article “The New Business Banks” published on 21st June, I wonder of anyone has the recipe for Humble Pie? OK, I wasn’t killed in the rush, but one of the big banks has stepped forward and is showing more than just polite interest in a new way of doing business in the sme sector; our meeting was very encouraging and I will have more news in due course….I hope.