Down, down, deeper and down... How Status Quo lyrics reflect share price tumble

Francis Rossi, pictured right, at Rochester Castle Concerts with Rick Parfitt
Francis Rossi, pictured right, at Rochester Castle Concerts with Rick Parfitt

by David Philpott, Chairman of IoD Kent branch

For some reason, I seem to entitle many of the articles I write with the names of the pop songs of yesteryear.

“Reasons to be Cheerful” and “I should be so Lucky” a la Ian Dury and Kylie Minogue have both found their way into larger font at the top of the page and now I give centre stage to Francis Rossi (pictured left with Rick Parfitt).

However, it is only in an ironic sense for there is no more Status Quo in the world of banking and high finance – a theme which I take up now and indeed a theme which I find myself returning to time and again on these pages.

As I write, share prices tumble day on day, down, down, deeper and down - and that goes for Mr Zuckerberg’s fanfared launch on the NYSE with Facebook.

I do not get much of a postbag; the occasional email here and there. But when I write about banks and bankers it is as if a dam is breached and I am deluged with opinions from people who have incurred some misfortune at the hands of the banks.

Their business was either ruined by the banks calling in loans or their business could not grow because the banks were not lending any money. It seems that the high street bank manager and even the regional corporate chap is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

I am interested in banking right now, not because of the imminent Grexit – Greece leaving the Eurozone – nor indeed Moody’s downgrading of 16 Spanish Banks, Santander included. I write instead of a lost glorious opportunity.

A few weeks ago, just around the time of the enforced Merkozy divorce, when Frau Angela was forced to go Dutch (or Hollande at least), a big banking event seemed to pass by unnoticed in the midst of the latest Euro crisis. The banking event of which I speak should have been such a big story, but it did little more than make the ticker tape and the foot of the screen on Sky News.

And what is this big banking story I hear you asking? Well, only that the Royal Bank of Scotland paid back all the money it borrowed from the government.

It was a re-capitalisation project that many of us thought was nothing more than a soft loan that would never get repaid. Yet here we are four years on from the 2008 catastrophe and RBS has paid back £163bn to the British taxpayer.

So, Up, Up and Away in my Beautiful Balloon (payment) it is. Let’s hope that those banks which have been forgiven are as forgiving with their customers in the months ahead.

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