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Banks: Getting Away With It

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Banks: Getting away with it

After Lloyds unveiled results today, we reached the end of the (big) bank reporting season.

My unscientific analysis shows this: they got a much lighter kicking than usual.

There were a few pieces of the Bank Bonus Billions Tax Them Now variety, but again, fewer than normal, and not really in the business pages.

There were some moans about CEO pay, but I imagine that for £5m you might be willing to put up with quite a lot of moaning.

An aside, bank CEO pay was curiously similar. Alison Rose at NatWest got £5.2m. As did the chap at Barclays. The boss of HSBC got nearly the same.

We’re quite sure this is a free market and not a stitch-up, yes?

Don’t ever doubt the bankers are overpaid. Here’s how it goes: If you work in a biscuit factory, you get free biscuits. If you work in a newspaper factory, you get free newspapers.

And if you work in a money factory….

If I’m right that the press attitude to the bankers is kinder than it used to be, what gives?

Three things:

1) The world is presently so awful that banker billions and millions don’t seem that bad. Banks meriting the front-page treatment belongs to a gentler age.

2) Bank flaks are really good now. They are much better at whispering in hacks ears, at giving the context which makes their bosses seem nicer.

3) The CEOs are nicer. Alison Rose and Charlie Nunn are plainly better people than Fred Goodwin and Bob Diamond.

That’s the main route to getting good coverage for your CEO. Don’t start with one who is a complete tosser.

Press release of the day

There’s a lot of focus on savers in the press. This from Newspage reminds us that they aren’t the folk we should worry about most. Four in 10 adults don’t expect to save any money at all this year and are, anxiously, relying ever more on credit.

There are good quotes from both financial experts and psychologists.

Stories that will keep rolling

1) How much has the Ukraine war boosted profits at BAE Systems?

2) Is John Holland-Kaye leaving Heathrow on a high or not?

3) How much have miners collectively cut dividends by this year?

4) Is WPP seeing green shoots of recovery in ad land?


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