to the Competition Commission's seven day ban
on selling payment protection insurance alongside a loan or a credit card astounded me. I think this is real proof that the culture of the major banks is stubbornly stuck in a discredited past.
There was a grim inevitability around the re-emergence of high bonuses. I thought they might leave a more decent period between bringing the financial system to its knees and being propped up by huge handouts from governments (directly and indirectly through quantitative easing before anyone fro Barclays squeals that they don't have any public ownership) before they rushed to line their own pockets with a generosity that most people can only dream of. But there seems to be such a determined attempt by the markets and the financial institutions that serve them to demonstrate a collective amnesia that they have moved with indecent haste. But returning to the bad old days of PPI miss-selling is quite another matter.
We will only suffer indirectly as a consequence of high bonuses through more expensive loans, higher taxes and so on but each miss-sold PPI policy has an immediate victim, often a family that ill-afford to discover that they have bought a worthless product just at the moment they need it most. That there was widespread miss-selling there can be no doubt: there is equally little doubt that much of it could have been prevented if the regulators had moved faster and listened to the people who had to sell the PPI cover - the bank counter and call centre staff that Barclays is so keen should head up a new push into this area.
Three or four years ago I sat through a presentation to MPs by the finance sector trade unions at which they were adamant that the only way staff in banks and building societies could meet the targets being set for them on PPI sales was to sell the policies to people who didn't need them or who wouldn't qualify for the cover if they tried to claim. You might ask why was this allowed to carry on, a very good question. The answer seems to be that the banks and insurance companies were making alot of easy money out of it and the regulators were asleep.
The banks do not deserve a second chance on this one.