Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gillian Tett on the financial zoo fence?

Gillian Tett  is by training a social anthropologist and maybe this is what adds a special flavour to her columns in the Financial Times, et al. In a recent article she broke away from current 'shock! horror!' news  (Euro/Greece/GDP-Debt ratios/AAA Ratings/etc,) and wrote a page in last weekend's FT magazine on the merits of small, local community banks and their prevalence in the US  'thousands of tiny local banks', whose 'assets under $1bn represent less than 11% of banking assets, they provide 40% of  of the loans the banking industry makes to small businesses'.   

There is confirmation that the local bank sector is strong in the UK with the results from 'one of Europe's healthiest lendersHandelsbanken as reported in the FT recently. 
'Our strategy is to grow organically. We're not open to acquisitions. It's not important to be large. Our focus is to have the most satisfied customers' (Par Boman, CEO). Hey! any anthropologists out there to take note?

All this looks promising for the possibility of a local bank in Hampshire, UK, where the idea was aired last autumn in Winchester. Prof Richard Werner (Univ of Southhampton) & Prof Neil Marriott (Univ. of Winchester) were reported as supportive of a local bankWolfgang Neumann, spoke of the German experience of local banking. 

Gillian Tett, anthropologist seems to end the article on large banks vs local banks sitting on the financial zoo fence: 'Whether these banks make sense from an economic point of view?'  [Ed. Come on GT! Don't you mean: 'Do big banks make economic sense?']. Richard Werner's paper gives clarity for anyone wanting more on the UK local banking situation.   The New Economics Foundation also is a good source on local banking. 
posted by Charles Bazlinton.
 AMAZON LINK :The Free Lunch - Fairness with Freedom

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