Douglas Carswell

04 NOV 2012

Bank reform: what a Conservative government ought to do

It's five years since the credit crunch struck, and almost as long since we started bailing out banks. Some would argue that we've never really stopped. Many UK banks remain as dependent on state handouts as any welfare junkie.

To be sure, banks have been asked to tighten up reserve ratios. And the Vickers report has reported.

But, as of this precise moment, what has changed? Not a great deal. Even once the Vickers recommendations on "ring fencing" are a reality, I am a little sceptical that it will make a positive difference. Why?

The implications of a vertical separation between retail and investment banking have not been thought through. The old banking architecture, with all the self-evident design flaws we now know about, will be replaced by a new architecture, with future evident flaws.

Much wiser than an arbitary vertical separation between types of banks would be a horizontal divide within banks. Draw a line to distinguish between loans and deposits within each bank.

Under such a scheme, state liabilities would be clearly defined. Different banks would have reserve ratios decided for them by the customer - who'd do a much better job than those "experts" at the FSA or the central bank.

I first presented this proposal to an incredulous House of Commons here.  See how they headed for the exits. Literally.

One Vickers report and months of inertia later, I see my idea is surfacing in MoneyWeek.

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