Thursday, 29 July 2010

THE sight of Business Secretary Vince Cable trying to get banks to lend more is a laugh. Banks just aren’t going to lend with the gay abandon that applied three years ago. They’ve been stung by the credit crunch. And good thing too, so Mr Cable can forget it.

Banks have become oversized incompetent parasites. Bank assets as a proportion of national income were 50 per cent between 1880 and 1970, and then shot up to 500 per cent in 2006.

That’s suspicious.

And in the US in the Sixties, each extra dollar of lending produced an extra dollar of national income – which means loans were made only if they made economic sense.

Nowadays, each extra dollar of lending produces nothing: the money goes towards “no income no job” mortgages, which results in abandoned crumbling houses.

And what have governments done about this incompetence by banks? They’ve given them even more money, rather than channel money to ordinary families and businesses. But every cloud has a silver lining: there was a very funny description of Gordon Brown’s infatuation with banks in The Guardian a year ago. Just Google “Simon Jenkins” (the author) and article title, “The nation has a case of mad Treasury disease”.

Ralph Musgrave, Durham.

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