‘Bankers — 3. Payback Time’


This is the third and final episode of this short BBC TV series. For the most part it hits the nail on the head, but it still perpetuates the greatest fiction of all.

It may be difficult for the youthful reader to grasp, but it is true nevertheless that at one time the public looked up to both banks and bankers. As Murray Rothbard pointed out in his devastating deconstruction of the Federal Reserve, the bank manager was once portrayed in cartoons as fat – fatness at that time being a sign of respectability – at just over 21 minutes into the video.

According to Martin Taylor – former CEO of Barclays – traditionally banks took deposits from customers and made loans to companies ie they loaned the money of their depositors. Oh no they didn’t! Check out the review of the previous episode for the truth behind this fantasy, and if you still don’t get it, follow the links. Banks do NOT lend money; they create credit.

Apart from that, the programme get it right. True, there were some good things about the (supposed) deregulation of the banks: money was cheap, and that benefited those who knew how to invest wisely, or didn’t borrow beyond their means. The number of ATMs exploded, and almost everybody had a bank account. There was also the scam of PPI mis-selling, which to put none too fine a point on it was a criminal conspiracy on an enormous scale.

This episode includes contributions from the men at the top of banking at the time, senior politicians, victims, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, but sadly no police officers, although the suggestion has at last been raised that people who rip off the public on this scale should be questioned not by government committees but by the fraud squad.

Although this programme concentrates on the City of London, its content is of relevance to everyone everywhere in the world. For those who can receive it, the current episode can be found on iplayer, but doubtless some public spirited netizens will also upload it to YouTube and sundry other video sites. If they haven’t already.

The City of London – red – known as The Square Mile – may be a lot smaller than the
City of Westminster and the County of Greater London, but it has been one of the
world’s major financial centres since before the development of modern banking.

[The above review was first published May 24, 2013.]

Return To Site Index