Skip to main content

More Lies

by | Monday, 9th August 2010
The banks are back in profit, and the bankers can afford a 25% increase in bonuses. So, all's well that ends well, isn't it? Well, isn't it?

You may have noticed that the banks are refusing to lend, while paying themselves these massive bonuses. Vince Cable and George Osborne say that the bankers are being very naughty boys to do this, and they should stop it immediately.

That's hard talk from them, isn't it? I'm glad we have those two on our side.

So, again, let me point out - the banks are bankrupt. They have no money to lend, and the little they have, they are extracting for themselves as quickly as they can, because they know this gravy train isn't going to last much longer.

Let's consider for a second the massive "profits" that have been announced in the last couple of weeks. Barclays announced £4 billion for the first half of the year, Lloyds £1.6 billion, RBS £1.1 billion and HSBC £11 billion. Even Northern Rock has claimed a £350 million profit.

So let's all shout "hooray!"

Or ... let's instead consider why the banks won't - can't - lend.

The reason, you see, is very simple. It's the small matter of around £1 trillion of debt which comes due over the next four years.

Yes, you read that right. £1 trillion over the next four years. In the coming year alone, British banks have just shy of £300 billion of debt coming due, which will either have to be paid, or refinanced, at much higher interest rates.

But if they choose to refinance this year, they have to face just shy of £400 billion coming due next. And £350 or so the year after that. And a mere £100 billion the year after, and the year after. £250 billion of this debt is the re-securitisation of Residential Mortgage Backed Securities, so for any of you waiting patiently for the resurgence of house prices ... don't hold your breath.

Finally, lets not forget the £100 billion exposure British banks have to Greece, Spain and Portugal.

To sum up, then, the banks are not in profit, they are bankrupt. They will not be in a position to lend to businesses for many years to come, no matter how much hot air comes out of Vince Cable and George Osborne. House prices are not going up again soon.

Anyone telling you a different story, is a liar. There's only one way out of this mess.

Help the UK Column by becoming a member: