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The Other Banker Bonus

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The other banker bonus

The next bank reporting season is just around the corner – Barclays kicks us off with results on February 15th.

If you wanted, you could more or less write the initial stories and headlines now.

Take some combination of Banker Bonus Bonanza Billions and go for it.

Banks reporting huge profits in the midst of economic strife is unfortunate, but mostly just a function of the cycle.

If this year is as bad as some fear, next year’s profits will be markedly down, if still large looking to those outside the City.

No one should feel sorry for the banks. They make money from doing approximately nothing and are surely big enough to take their kicking.

But there’s more to tell here I think. Since the crash of 2008, banks have become much better at dealing with customers in distress.

They have some clever tools in place and, perhaps, a more humane attitude.

Chatting to the HSBC comms team today, one of the main messages they want to get out into the wider world is that the bank is there to help rather than hurt.

It is neither the bogeyman nor the bailiff.

It is not in its own interests to send struggling firms or families to the wall, and the sooner those in trouble cry for help, the easier it will be all around.

No one is going to mistake banking for charity.

On the other hand, if that message gains traction and banks are able to help customers get through rather than go under, that is surely a good days work all around.

Flaks could probably be better at pitching these sorts of stories. Hacks could probably be better at listening to them.

Press release of the day

There are more than 60,000 “distressed” businesses in London and the South East says this from The Institute for Turnaround.

That is 4% of all companies, and this year is likely to get harder.

Andy Leeser, chairman of the IFT, says: “This region is the powerhouse of the UK economy and it is concerning, but perhaps not surprising, that more than 63,000 of its businesses are in a state of distress.”

Stories that will keep rolling

1) What is Tim Martin’s latest broadside against the government? How many pubs will he have to close in total?

2) Do Tesla sales suggest the electric car bubble is bursting?

3) Are CMC customers avoiding the stock market or chasing it?

4) How does Australian inflation compare to ours?

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