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Sorry? Well maybe just a little bit

Mark Briegal - Partner & Partnership Law Expert

Mark Briegal, Partner at Ralli  gives his views on the issue of the sorry banker…..

Now I have to admit that I used to work in banking and, sadly, I never got a multimillion pound bonus. Like most bank employees I did an interesting job that paid OK and I sometimes got a bonus.  Like most people in banking my bonus might have paid for a weekend away, not a yacht.  I remember buying a nice rug one year!

I was asked to rant about this in a blog, but it’s not that simple, but what ever is!  On the one hand I object to the banks having a business model that seems to allow them to take the gains but allow someone else (the taxpayer) to pick up the pieces if it all goes wrong.  I also think that they need some humility in relation to what they say – we did bail them out.  I don’t object to people being paid the going rate for the job.  For some (a very small number!) of bankers the figures are astronomical, but I also object to footballers being paid so much whilst nurses, teachers etc. are paid far less.

However, we do need banks and we can’t allow them to fail.  We also need the banks to be successful.  If they are successful, then they will be able to repay us for the money we lent them, with interest.  They will also pay tax and the high paid bankers will not only pay tax, but also spend their money and boost the economy.  If we ban bonuses and the big banks move abroad or the good people who generate the big profits move abroad, that will be detrimental to the economy.

So, what do I think?  I think we need successful banks.  I think the banks need to lend more to small business to get the economy going and I think they should show a bit more humility whilst getting on with building up their capital and the UK economy.

That rug still looks nice!