Tag Archives: a wunch of bankers

Bags Full Of Crumbs

Mr Banks had had dreams of walking with giants.

And of carving his niche in the edifice of time. He had felt the thrill of totting up a balanced book, a thousand ciphers in a row. When gazing at a graph that showed the profits up, his little cup of joy had overflowed.

He had ground, ground, ground at that grindstone, a sentence that sounds better in the present tense.

But years of daft lending, stupid investments and the previously unknown fact that the word “banker” derives from an old Irish word meaning “thick as porridge” had all caught up with him. The mortgages he had granted had been on houses of cards, the developers he had funded had been under-developed, the seed capital he had provided had been planted on stony soil, or possibly eaten by the bird-woman’s birds. He had backed a company that sold cranberry-flavoured whiskey, which was unfit for drinking, even by Americans.

He had traded in futures, whatever they are, and they were going to cost him his.

Dawes Tomes Mousley Grubbs Fidelity Fiduciary Bank had no money left. Tomorrow morning there would be a run on the bank.

Which was why he now sat in the great marble hallway outside the office in which he would shortly meet his fate.

The door opened, and he was called inside, to be meet the Irish Minister for Finance.

“Ah, Banks,” said the Minister. “We’re going to have to take this very seriously.”

Here we go, thought Mr Banks. “What are you going to do?”

“We’re going to take over your bad loans, guarantee your bank, and repay all of your creditors.”

“Who’s we?”

“The Irish people, of course. A couple with a massive mortgage. A family on the dole. A man with one leg named Smith. People like that.”

“Won’t they object?”

“If they do, they can go fly a kite.”

“And what’s going to happen to me?”

“Well, obviously you’ll have to go. But we won’t sack you, we’ll let you retire, on a massive pension.”

Mr Banks was stunned. Jane and Michael could stay at their private school. Mrs Banks could stay on her endless committees. They wouldn’t have to get rid of their French au-pair, Marie Popin.

“Aren’t you going to punch a hole in my hat?”

“Er, what?”

“Punch a hole in my bowler hat. It’s the greatest punishment that a banker can face.”

The Minister stared at him, and just for a second Mr Banks could see deep, deep anger in his eyes.

“Is that so?” said the Minister. “Well, that explains an awful lot.”

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Simple, Really

The Government, reluctantly and under extreme pressure, is to hold an enquiry into what went wrong in the banks.

My prediction (indeed everyone’s prediction) is that they’ll spend a few million and come up with a load of generalised waffle.

I can save them that money (though they can send me some if it, if they wish). The paragraph below tells them everything they need to know.

Joe borrowed money to buy a car which he then wrote off in a crash. Though his asset is gone, he still has to repay the loan. Rich borrowed money to buy shares in Anglo Irish, which were then written off in a banking crash. His asset is gone, so he doesn’t have to repay the money.

That’s the banking culture in a nutshell. It’s better to be rich than an ordinary joe.

They’re welcome.

A Question Of Tort

Would you like to work with us here in the bank?

We are the one profession in Ireland where there have been no pay cuts, no redundancies and no company closures.

We certainly compare favourably with the oldest profession, since we’re not the ones being screwed.

Banks around the world are making money again, from lending at high rates to countries whose economies are shagged because they had to bail us out in the first place, we’ll soon be looking for more staff. So, do you have what it takes to join us? Try this aptitude test….

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  1. If you get this job, will you put on your Facebook page that you work as (a) a slurry-pit cleaner; (b) a recruitment officer for the Taliban; (c) a banker, and proud if it?
  2. Would you put any spare money you had into (a) bank shares; (b) property; (c) a biscuit-tin under your bed (we bankers aren’t stupid, you know)?
  3. Who was your childhood hero: (a) Superman; (b) Robin Hood; (c) Shylock?
  4. “Money doesn’t grow on trees”. Doesn’t this mean that the whole crisis is the fault of (a) the farmers; (b) the Public Sector; (c) spongers on the dole?
  5. At the end of A Christmas Carol, did you (a) feel filled with the spirit of Christmas; (b) rejoice that Tiny Tim lived; (c) hurl the book aside in disgust at how Scrooge had turned into a spineless wuss?
  6. Which of the following would fill you with dread: (a) the Boogeyman; (c) the Financial Regulator (I know, ridiculous, but we have to ask); (c) an increase in the higher tax rate?
  7. What’s the best thing about Big Brother: (a) the arguments when they’re drunk; (b) the tasks; (c) evictions live on TV (great idea for a whole new programme there)?
  8. “I don’t know what a Tracker Mortgage is.” Was this said by (a) an actor in a TV ad; (b) a beggar on O’Connell Bridge; (c) the Governor of the Central Bank?
  9. Would you rather be (a) taken in a Tiger kidnapping; (b) taken by Tiger Woods; (c) taken for a Tiger Beer by a property developer?
  10. Who do you like most in Buffy: (a) Buffy; (b) Willow; (c) the evil blood-sucking vampires?
  11. Nick Leeson got six-and-a-half years for bringing down Barings Bank. Seanie Fitzpatrick brought down the entire Irish banking system. Should he get (a) ten years; (b) life; (c) a substantially reduced bonus this year?
  12. The Minister for Finance says bankers’ salaries should be capped at half a million euro. Is he (a) serious; (b) kidding;  (c) out of his fucking mind?

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If you answered all C’s, welcome aboard, Brother Banker! You and I are practically soulmates.

Or we would be, if either of us had a soul.

Before the Flood

Sorry I’ve been missing. I’ve been up to my eyes at work.

In these straitened times, that should be a good thing, but it isn’t. Another river of shit is flowing towards the wonderful people who work with me. We’re all going to get paid less when we come back after Christmas, and some, though thankfully only a few, won’t be coming back at all.

I’ve been so busy because I’ve had to pull together information that the people at the top will use to control the river, to decide in what directions to channel it and where to let it burst its banks. Shit happens, and they have to decide who to. They hate it, and I don’t envy them.

Meanwhile the staff carry on working, and discussing next week’s (much-diluted from last year) Christmas party.

I feel so sorry for the ones who’ll be going. The rest of us, well, we’ll manage. we’ll get by on our lower salaries and, if things ever pick up again, we’ll see good times again.

But the anger at the Government and the financial misfits who caused all this will still burn inside. It will not burn with flashy and short-lasting flames of rage and shouting. It will smoulder deep, deep inside, and because of this it will last much longer. And this deep-felt anger is burning  in other companies, in the public service, in all of society.

We keep being told that things are going to change. Unless the powers-that-be really are as divorced from the people as they appear, then they must see that things will have to. Because the people of Ireland have had enough.

Think of a Number

Here is a test.

Think of a number.

Double it.

Add 22.

Multiply it by four.

Add seventeen zeros to the end of it.

Take away the number you first thought of.

Ring the Government and tell them the the figure you have now is definitely, positively the final additional injection of capital that you’ll need to keep your bank afloat.

If you’ve passed the above test you are as fit to apply for any of the several vacant Chief Executive jobs at our banks as were the people who held them in the first place. This week, seven months after the banks first admitted they were in real trouble, it’s been reported that Allied Irish need a further €1.5 billion in bail-out money and Anglo Irish need €2.5 billion, because they still haven’t figured out just how badly they’re really doing.

And remember, these are the people who opposed the Government’s €500,000 cap on bank executive salaries. The Government introduced this cap in an attempt to assuage public anger, which might otherwise have led to people storming AGMs and carrying bankers off to use them as toilet brushes, but the banks, showing a staggering lack of cop-on, said that it would prevent them from hiring the very best, which presumably means people like they have now.

You couldn’t make it up. Except that increasingly it looks like that’s exactly what they do.

Yet Another Birthday

first-birthday

This blog is one year old today.

I can now celebrate the day I was born (my birthday), the anniversary of the day I got my pacemaker (Tinman’s birthday) and the anniversary of the day I started this (my blog birthday).

This means I have more birthdays than the Queen.

Therefore I’m entitled to have an Honours List.

mary-hanafinThe MBE (Miserable Bastard Entity): From a lengthy list of contenders (honourable mention here to Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe) I’ve chosen Social Welfare Minister Mary Hanafin, for the decision to scrap the bonus payment to Welfare Recipients at Christmas. She keeps saying that at least she didn’t reduce the rate, but scrapping the bonus week IS a 2% cut, and her refusal to accept that is typical of the type of word manipulation that Ministers are still using, failing to see that it’s this type of crap that’s so infuriating the electorate. Anyway, she’s altered the entitlement of pensioners to medical cards, and shortened the length of time for which you can collect Jobseekers Benefit, so she has reduced benefits, no matter what she says.

michael-fingletonThe OBE (Obnoxious Banker Entity): Yet another category in which the shortlist is actually a long list. Brian Goggin, outgoing Chief Executive of Bank of Ireland for example, for bemoaning the fact that his salary fell to below 2 million last year, and for the fact that, although he has retired as Chief Exec, he’s remaining on the staff of the bank till June, so he’ll qualify for his full pension. Seanie Fitz, of course, for single-handedly bringing our banking system to its knees through his reckless and quite frankly corrupt business practices at Anglo Irish Bank. The honour goes to Michael Fingleton though. The fact that he tried to pay himself a €1 million bonus despite having presided over a loss of €243 million shows that he has no understanding of what a bonus should actually mean, and was simply using Irish Nationwide as his own piggy-bank. The fact that Irish Nationwide facilitated Seanie Fitz in hiding his Anglo Irish Loans from the stock market is another shining example of the ethical standards of this man.

yelena-1st-birthdayThe CBE (Cute Babe Entity): Ah, Yelena. It’s been over three months since I’ve thought of an excuse to post a picture of her, but she is far from forgotten in my heart, and now that the athletics season is returning you can expect to see lots more photos of her midriff. Or sometimes her bum.

The Nighthood (Because they’re blood-sucking vampires): The politicians of this country, for clinging with their vampire teeth to their outrageous collection of benefits, add-ons and expenses, while all the while telling us that we must all accept the pain together. Chief among them though is Brian Lenihan, for continually trying to give the impression that they are actually taking cuts when in fact they are doing no such thing.

And finally, for running our country into the ground with his throw-money-at-everything-approach to government, for accepting handouts from anyone willing to give them to him, for allowing his poor secretary to attend a tribunal and try to back up the lies he was telling about never having lodged sterling into his account, for then attacking the tribunal when they exposed these lies, for finally trying to explain the money away by saying he won it on horses, and for his overall contribution to increasing the level of contempt and distrust with which politicians and therefore politics itself are held in this country, Bertie Ahern is being made a Dame, because, well, there is nothing like him.

Come and Get It

The Irish Times today reports that

“The Department of Finance is assessing a response from Irish Nationwide to its request that the building society’s chief executive, Michael Fingleton, repay a €1 million bonus paid to him weeks after the Government guarantee for Irish Banks was introduced.”

By means of making stuff up using the Freedom of Information Act, Tinman has obtained a copy of this response on your behalf:

fingletons-letter

I don’t think it’ll take too long to assess that.