Tag Archives: financial crisis

The future of banking

As the current financial crisis unfolds, I’ve been wondering how it will affect me as an individual in the future. Hamish McRae reckons it’ll be like it was in the sixties (but not in a good way 🙁 ):

It is easier in a way to see the situation in a year or two’s time than it is to call the detail of the next few weeks. What we can see is a world where it will be much more difficult to borrow money.

For those who can remember, it will be more like the 1950s and 1960s. Then, if you wanted a mortgage, you had to have built up a deposit in the building society or bank that might lend you the money.

People would open an account with two or three societies and stick as much money as they could in each so that if one would not give them the loan they could try another.

Other interesting speculations on the future of banking can be found in Casino Capitalism, on the BBC’s iPlayer service, available until the 5th of October. One conclusion from that programme is that banks will become more like utility companies, and the idea that banks can be innovative businesses in their own right is wrong – banks should provide basic financial services based on sound risk management (see below).

It’s worth listening to. Also if you haven’t read Charles Stross’ thoughts on the banking crisis, go do so:

…banking is the art and science of risk management. (You have a pot of money. You want to use it to get more money.

Do you lend it to person A, who you figure has a 25% chance of defaulting on the loan but is willing to pay you 1% per month in interest, or person B, who has a 1% chance of defaulting but can only pay you 0.5% per month?

If you picked person B, congratulations: you’re a good banker. If you picked A, you’d better hope there’s a government hand-out in your future.)

[image from Odalaigh on flickr]