Here we go again. This week has seen a fresh round of HBOS-bashing after Lloyds revealed a £13.4bn hit due to bad loans – 80% of which came from HBOS.
Most of that 80% would have been the responsibility/fault of former head of corporate banking Peter Cummings, the man no journalist has successfully tracked down.
Much has been written and insinuated about his humble origins in Dumbarton as if that explained what subsequently happened on his watch.
The whole point about the credit crunch was that only a handful of people actually understood the complex mathematical equations used to draw up slippery financial instruments like collaterised debt obligations.
OK, bank bashing was the obvious knee-jerk reaction to what went on, but shouldn't we now raise the level of debate a notch or two? See this recent humorous article that appeared on The Daily Mash .
The bubble was inflated by greed and who didn't feel a pang of that between 1992 and July 2007?
That said, the story of HBOS, which bought into a string of construction and property groups including Crest Nicholson, Miller, Gladedale and Keepmoat, has some questionable chapters.
The following account of someone involved in the bank's acquisition of a stake in his company shows it didn’t exactly dig deeply into the financial detail before putting its money on the table.
He says: “HBOS seemed to be pretty free and easy with its risk taking. There were a lot of reports commissioned on our market to help HBOS make up its mind but I knew some of them were flawed.
“Also, they pretty much took the company’s word over its profit forecasts without ever really digging into the detail. The shareholders weren’t arguing; they were getting a massive payout and thought it was too good to be true.”
So, who would you call greedy here?