When I was about eight I was taken to a branch of Barclays Bank by my parents to open a super-saver junior account. I met the branch deputy manager who presented me with a money box in the shape of a Barclays Bank branch and he lectured me on the importance of saving money and not spending more than you actually had. I still have this bank account but the branch has gone and my enquiries are now dealt with by a call centre in a faraway land. It is totally impersonal, I am just a number. Banking when I was a child was certainly a more personal affair. Now, I pondered over the change in high street banking yesterday while watching the former Chief Executive of Barclays, Bob Diamond, giving evidence to the Treasury Select Committee. Diamond was talking about financial issues which had very little to do with the lecture I got from the bank deputy manager all those years ago. Banking has changed so much and I rather like that new catch-word casino banking which appears to describe how some traders working for the British bank behaved. I believe that banks should move back in time and forget all this casino banking and concentrate on their role of old; as a holder of your money. It might not be as profitable but it is a fit and proper business. The banking industry appears to be out of control at the moment and the consequences are evident for all to see. Back to basics for bankers before it is too late!
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