Monday, 16 February 2009

Hounds and Hounding

The Hound is on holiday! She has gone to spend half term week with adoring fans in my sister's house over in Bromley. Sara, said sister, is the international expert on teacher induction ( well, someone has to be ) and she tells me she is on her 13th book on this subject . I confess I haven't read one (life too short)but people do. Why, they have even translated them into Chinese. She is married to a civil servant, with 3 exceptionally brilliant kids; one of whom has made fleeting appearances in Blog as Julian, the Oxford hearty.

Strange to be Houndless. But I am compensating by hounding bankers.I have a letter published in today's Times.
Click here to read
It is a reply to one Ms Angela Knight, who is the CEO of the "British Bankers Association ". The Times had reported extensively on the ACEVO - DWP task force report calling for the rapid establishment of the Social Investment Bank. There are rumours the banks are dragging their feet. Ms Knight protests; a somewhat unwise letter in view of current public perception of the banks perhaps. She argues the banks are enthusiastically promoting how people can be reunited with their lost or forgotten accounts. I forbear to mention in my response that that might well be seen as about time and that it has taken legislation to prompt the banks to do this.

However she unwisely suggests that our campaigning on this issue is somehow "not working in the best interests of the third sector." I trust this is not a threat. She fails to comment at all on the agreement that the banks reached that unclaimed dormant accounts will be put to public benefit by establishing a Social Investment Bank. A bank that will actually lend.

My letter in response is a model of restraint. But if Ms Knight wants a battle on this perhaps I might just point out that the banks have billions in unclaimed assets(and yes I have inside knowledge to support that contention Angela) and this has appeared on their bottom line. This means that bankers will have been receiving bonuses based on these sums as well!

But having made these points, and joshing apart , I do hope that we can make progress with the Banks . I realise it may not be their top ptioirty but they could earn credit for making all this happen . They have said they support the move for a SIB so lets hope this exchange may prompt more movement? Happy to chat to them I shall be writing to Angela to suggest a meeting .

And lets not put all the onus on the Banks. The Government could make this happen now by saying they want action . The Chancellor could announce in his Budget that he wants the new Bank in ooperation by the end of the year . We certainly need it . They could now put in train the steps needed to establish the Bank; organise the money to be taken from the banks and put into the " reclaim fund ", ensuring the FSA organise the rules and put out the tenders for those interested in running the new Bank .

In the current atmosphere of a widespread lack of trust in our banking system it might have been more sensible for Ms Knight to be making friends in our sector ? A call to me rather than a letter in The Timnes ? I await Ms Knight's lunch invite. We could work together on this. As Obama might say , " together we can " !


Janet F said...

Keep hounding them Stephen!

The sector does need to develop a more challenging edge.
The sector's key stakeholders, those in need in this and other countries, have been badly let down by a variety of people over the last few years, including various key politicians (TB and GB to name just two), many bankers (although not all), and many businesses (there for positive PR in the good times, deserters in the bad times) and they need to be held to account.

Yes there are times when the softly, softly approach works but now isn't one of them - keep hounding!!

Stephen Bubb said...

I shall . Its a positive pleasure as well as a duty!