Thursday, July 31, 2008

How to be a Banker

Think: 'I am incompetent. In successive banking crises I have lost every penny I ever made from my investment strategies. I do not understand the algorithms we use to assess risk, but I know they don't work other than as mechanisms for confusing our customers. I am too stupid to understand the risks my traders are taking. I make ordinary people miserable by selling them loans they can't afford and by wrecking the economy. I make predictions but they are always wrong. Yet I cannot be punished. The banking system is now so concentrated and interdependent that there is, effectively, only one bank and, therefore, governments are terrified of allowing us to suffer from our own failings. In good times I am a capitalist; in bad times a communist. I will always be paid. I will get my bonus.'
Say: 'Oh you don't understand, Bryan, we've been through this before. We know a thing or two in the City; we've been handling this kind of thing for centuries. There's some very smart people down there. We'll be back on track after a couple of years if we can just get the government to get its act together.' 


  1. Welcome back.
    That island you were on is quite cool relative to the rest of Greece, but still I expect you know why the gods went for the heights of Olympus, what with heat and Gadflies.
    On the issue of the Bankers, I have to admit I have a soft spot for them. There is always something of the three-card-trick merchant about them. In an earlier age they would inhabit that trader/pirate space. And a bit like the frog and the scorpion you cannot really expect much more of them.

  2. A banker sat down opposite me, took his laptop out of its holster, switched it on, twiddled about and said "your company does not appear to fit our profile for your type of business". I said "We have been with your bank for 18 years, bit slow on the uptake, aren't you?" "Oh, we have a new method for designing profiles."
    I said "we have a new method for choosing banks." Needless to say we parted company.

  3. Malty

    If you didn't exist we would have to invent you. Please ensure your immortality; Bryan will be able to give you a steer.