Tuesday 11 November 2008

HBoS - save the bank

Right, the Bank of China is interested in buying HBoS, joining Tim Goode's European American Capital in sniffing around the opportunities presented by the determination of the Labour Government to send HBoS to the dustbin of history.

Brown and Darling told us that no-one would invest in the bank, that the ba was on the slates, that Gordon's mate, Victor Blank, was doing us all a favour by taking this burden on. I take it that he will withdraw rapidly now that someone else is available, scuttling off down the corridor while wiping the sweat of fear from his forehead with a large spotted handkerchief? No, I don't think so either.
We've had George Mathewson and Peter Burt insisting that Lloyds TSB is in a worse state than HBoS, following on from the lead I gave some time ago (breathes on fingernails and buffs them on waistcoat) - although I suspect that they have looked into it somewhat more closely than I have.

I'll say it again - Lloyds TSB is broke. The Treasury has not disaggregated the figures for the bail-out of HBoS and L-TSB - and my suspicion is that this is because it would reveal just how fragile L-TSB is.
Labour's Government continues to insist that there is no alternative to the deal brokered between Brown and Blank on the sly (the New Labour equivalent of a smoke-filled room, I suppose), and they refuse to examine any proposal. It's not as if Burt and Mathewson are just punters like me pontificating on these grand affairs of state from a position of informed ignorance - they're serious punters in the banking arena.

They're right to call for Hornby and Stevenson to go now - this pair have ruined a perfectly decent building society and a fine bank by managing them in a manner more befitting a certain trading organisation based in Peckham. Instead of acting with honour and stepping down for the benefit of the customers and shareholders of HBoS, this pair are fighting back, claiming that Mathewson and Burt don't offer certainty or stability.

Hang on, says I, was it Burt and Mathewson who got HBoS into trouble? No, indeed it was not, it was Stevenson and Hornby, these are the jokers who got the bank hopelessly lost and are now claiming to have the map which will get the bank back out of the swamp. Who do you trust?
There is also, of course, Jim Spowart claiming that the L-TSB deal is cack. Another chap I'd trust a mile and a half ahead of those currently 'running' HBoS - and ahead of Brown's mate Victor Blank.
Then there's the OFT report saying that the deal isn't in the public interest, the interests of shareholders or the interests of consumers.

This stinks of a dodgy political fix for partisan advantage. I say that Spowart, Burt and Mathewson should be allowed to get on with sorting out the bank. In the meantime, we need the truth from Brown, Darling et al about what they are really up to.

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