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Call for former HBOS chiefs to be banned

Call for former HBOS chiefs to be banned

Category: Banking

Updated: 05/04/2013
First Published: 05/04/2013

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The Banking Standards Commission (BSC) has claimed the former heads of HBOS were to blame for the bank's collapse in 2008 and called for all three to be banned from working in the banking industry.

Pointing the finger of blame at the state-owned bank's former chief executives Sir James Crosby and Andy Hornby and ex-chairman Lord Stevenson, the committee's report on the failings at HBOS stated that massive 'impairments' had occurred across the Group.

Significantly "reckless" lending policies had taken place within its Corporate and International Divisions where "impairments of £25 billion on their own would have threatened the ability of the bank to operate or require complete recapitalisation".

Lesser degrees of risks and impairments had been made within HBOS's Retail Bank Division, although the commission stressed that the Division had suffered higher mortgage-related losses compared with its major competitors and this reflected the bank's strategy of pursuing growth in higher risk non-standard mortgages.

Summarising, the BSC declared: "HBOS set a strategy for aggressive, asset-led growth across divisions over a sustained period. This involved accepting more risk across all divisions of the Group.

"Although many of the strengths of the two brands within HBOS largely persisted at branch level, the strategy created a new culture in the higher echelons of the bank. This culture was brash, underpinned by a belief that the growing market share was due to a special set of skills which HBOS possessed and which its competitors lacked.

"The effects of the culture were all the more corrosive when coupled with a lack of corporate self-knowledge at the top of the organisation, enabling the bank's leaders to persist in the belief, in some cases to this day, that HBOS was a conservative institution when in fact it was the very opposite," it concluded.

The BSC, formed in a bid to improve the UK's banking sector, consists of a number of MPs, House of Lords members and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

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