Monday 3 November 2008

Save HBoS

Right, come on, there cannot now seriously be anyone who still believes that HBoS should be flogged to Lloyds TSB at a knock-down price? No-one now thinks that it's a good deal, do they?

Knock-down? Yes. With a wee bit of Government help for a couple of years (of the kind offered to the merged bank and to RBS and offered to but rejected by Barclays), HBoS would get through its most pressing immediate difficulties and would come out the other side in a better condition with a higher valuation, higher share price, more secure investment portfolio (as the housing market recovers), and better prospects. It may still not be able to stave off a takeover but at least investors would get a better return and there would be another chance to keep some headquarters operations in Scotland.

There might even be the chance to offload Bankwest, pull Clydesdale back into Scottish ownership and get rid of that Halifax thing that's been attached to the bank for far too long now. Then you might even get a Scottish bank getting back into proper banking.

The evidence to suggest that the Lloyds deal is a dodgy one, a political fix to get Lloyds out of trouble, is mounting. We heard recently that there will be no HBoS people on the board of the new bank if the sell-out goes ahead; we had the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer insisting that help would only be given to a merged bank; we had the Scottish Secretary seeking to scupper an alternative deal by leaking news of it to the press; we've seen speculation that 20,000 jobs could go; and now we have Lloyds TSB saying that the deal will save it £1.5billion a year.
Daylight robbery - daylight bank robbery. Victor Blank get his bank bailed out and gets to expand - at the expense of the consumer, according to the OFT, but not at any expense to his bank - while a smelly political fix puts the kybosh on any other attempt to keep this Scottish institution alive.

It stinks.

1 comment:

Jess The Dog said...

Agreed, the words of Burns were never more apt:

"Bought and sold for English gold
A parcel of rogues in a nation".

This must be fought, I believe the takeover is simply being delayed until after the Glenrothes by-election.

What if Scottish HBOS customers threatened to change banks if this takeover goes ahead? What impact would a mass exodus of cash have on the viability of the new bank? Maybe this is what it will take.