The worst week of the year

Tomorrow's Business

Last week was the trickiest week of the year – it always is. Bank reporting week is hard yards for all involved. By the end, all of the hacks and flaks involved were tired, emotional and still reliving arguments that had finished days ago.

I asked a fellow banking hack when she would finally stop thinking about Barclays’ results. Next week, she thought. I asked a banking flak when he would finally stop worrying about how his bank’s results were received. “By June, I hope,” he says.

Banks are the hardest companies to write about because a) they are really complicated institutions and b) there are so many numbers in the results that it’s quite a task to figure out which of them matter and which of them don’t.

Inevitably, someone else who doesn’t know what they are talking about will notice different numbers to yours and make the assumption they must be the important ones. I’m not saying this makes you want to kill the news desk. Ok, I am saying that.

I think bank flaks are among the smartest around, simply because they have to be. (The reporters are all as thick as each other.)

But I think all involved could do a better job of explaining what banks are for and how they operate.

Sometimes, huge sounding numbers aren’t remotely significant. And small sounding ones mean an awful lot.

Tell us which are which, please.

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