Miliband sets out bank reform plans
Jul 09 2012
Labour leader Ed Miliband has accused the Government of "failing to rise to the challenge of reforming our banks", as he set out a blueprint for change, including forcing the "big five" to sell up to 1,000 more branches to increase competition.
Mr Miliband pointed to the Libor rate-fixing scandal, the mis-selling of complex insurance products, the failure to lend to business and the "fleecing" of customers with payment protection insurance as proof that the banking industry has become "economically damaging and socially destructive".
And he called for institutional reform and cultural change to bring about a return to the "stewardship banking" of the past, after 20 years or more in which the banks have behaved like casinos.
Mr Miliband detailed his proposals in a speech to the Co-operative Bank, which is in exclusive talks with Lloyds Banking Group to buy more than 600 of its branches. And he said that he wants at least one other privately-run "challenger" bank to be given the chance to break into a market dominated by the five best-known names.
Other elements of the shake-up include a code of conduct with a power to permanently "strike off" errant bankers and a specialist banking unit set up with the Serious Fraud Office.
Amid continued controversy over a potential multimillion-pound payoff for ex-Barclays boss Bob Diamond, he also backed EU proposals - opposed by Chancellor George Osborne - to set a maximum 1:1 ratio of bonus to pay.
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