We are quite palpably living in the midst of an age of rage: with a backdrop marked by years of painful financial volatility, austerity and retrenchment and an economic position that continues to deteriorate, the unfolding LIBOR scandal and our very own banking/credit crisis has patently unleashed an unprecendented level of public opprobrium targeted directly at bankers and the finance industry.
So long the reserve of the A-listers of international finance such as Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, Stephen Hester of RBS and the now infamous former CEO of Barclays Bob Diamond, Northern Ireland’s financial elite have all a sudden come to the focus of scathing public criticism. And rather tellingly Northern Ireland and Ulster Bank is making headlines in the FT; both subjects that scarcely if ever make the news in the pink paper.
Jim Brown, formerly unknown CEO and now the face of Ulster Bank, has rightly taken centre stage, and what an audience…
When I drafted, inked and painted the two cartoons and penned a comment on the whole debacle and the fat cat of high finance that we can call our own (of course his passport says otherwise: NZ), Jim Brown still had his hands on his bonus. However this has since all changed and now the New Zealand native is relinquishing his hard owned (?) bonus.
Whilst this decision is unlikely to meangingfully affect his personal balance sheet how this move impacts on public sentiment remains to be seen. But while this debacle rolls on for another week or two or, going by the record so, very much longer it would not be unreasonable for the Ulster Bank chief to give some serious consideration to the recent actions of Barclays’ ex-CEO, Bob Diamond. A man who carried the can for the Barclays’ induced chaos, so why shouldn’t someone carry the can for the RBS/Ulster Bank chaos.
Further to that, Ulster Bank’s credibility and 173 year reputation has ostensibly taken a major hit, and with many customers pledging to move their custom elsewhere surely RBS/Ulster Bank must seriously consider pushing forward a fall guy to take the wrap. After all RBS/Ulster Bank overseers have overseen a grave mishap and bungled recovery that has caused untold misery to a great many persons, households and businesses across the island of Ireland and further afield.
That too remains to be seen, but in the mean time I look forward to seeing what riveting captions are to come!