Three banks, 3,000+ subsidiaries
Barclays, RBS and HSBC each boasts more than 1,000 subsidiaries – most of which are secret vehicles created to warehouse lending or direct financial flows in artificial ways, whose purpose, as one official told me off the record, is essentially deception – to avoid tax or regulation or whose complexity is designed so that in an emergency all a government can do is write a blank bail-out cheque.
He's right. As if more evidence were needed. And the rest of the article is well, well worth reading.
"Progress on financial reform – nationally and internationally – is glacial. Part of the reason is the fiendish complexity that western governments allowed their banks to create, and part is the jealous defence of alleged national banking interests by governments."
Both these points bring us back to the same issue again. Offshore.
Under the article, is a useful note:
"Dispatches: How the Banks Won, presented by Will Hutton, is broadcast at 8pm this Monday on Channel 4."