Opinion

Charlie Mullins: "Pin-striped villains" to face jail is good for economy and high street

3 min read

15 June 2015

In his Mansion House speech, the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, signalled the end to the "culture of impunity" for pin-striped villains known as bankers, who have shown so much contempt for the law, according to Pimlico founder Charlie Mullins.

These criminals have stolen, lied and cheated their way to millions of pounds of other people’s money. And, when they’ve been caught, all they do is take the massive fines on the chin, like it’s just another cost of doing business.

They have learned that, no matter what they do, individuals will not go to prison and that taking huge risks, even if you fail, will see you granted a second chance via the bail-out shilling of the people you were trying to rip off!

This is the evidence that must have pushed Carney over the brink, and lead him to describe the financial markets of being “stained with excess”.

“Why”, he asked, “is it that after so many scandals so few individuals have faced punishment in the courts?”

He then voiced what I’ve been waiting for someone with serious clout to say since 2009. The governor said: “Individuals who fraudulently manipulate markets and commit financial crime should be treated like the criminals they are, and will be.”

However much as I am gladdened by the thought of bankers finally doing porridge for their crimes, committed against customers and the economy alike, I think we are at a crossroads that offers us a better path.

Read more from Charlie Mullins: 

There is now a real opportunity for a reformed banking system to be a positive force in the battle to return the UK’s economy to prosperity.

Bankers are so institutionalised that it will be no easy task to return them to the ethics of the citizens and businesses they have for so long considered inferior and fair game.

But like when the barons dragged King John to Runnymede and forced him to sign the Magna Carta – 800 years ago to this very day – I feel optimistic that we have just witnessed a shift of power, which will bring benefits for us all.

I’m not just speaking about a friendlier regime towards business borrowing and less out and out banditry. I hope that with the stripping away for several layers of arrogance from the banking industry, there might be a bit more respect on the high street too.

Who’s for not being treated like a criminal the moment anything goes wrong with your current account, or your credit card? And not having your account frozen when you’re abroad, and being told nothing can be done because they suspect fraud? Me for one and I suspect I am not alone!

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