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>Time to stop bashing the bankers?

>I have dithered about posting this because you see I’m a banker. I’m an investment banker and a reasonably senior one at that. But despite all of that what I do is in no way connected with or caused the financial meltdown.

In fact why I’m posting is because I think people have lost sight of that fact. Yes, I’m now villified by virtue of my job and a figure of disgust but I never had a chance to influence or cause this horrid financial mess.

And neither did hundreds of other working in banks. The support staff, the bog standard run of the mill staff and the plain normal people who make up 99% of the staff.

Because the fact is that this mess is the responsibility of a tiny group of people at the top. And you can bet that they will not be the ones with no bonus as a result of this super tax or increased job insecurity because of the extra cost to the bank of paying bonuses to these people.

No it’ll hit the normal people, the majority of employees who are not on multi-zero bonuses hard. Because banks have always paid lower salaries than competing jobs and made it up with bonus making sure that staff were very tied into performance (yes Mr Darling most of your ideas about pay are already in place and have been for years).

But this isn’t a whinge about how bad my lot is. I’m lucky – I still have a job (50% of my team have been fired in the past 18 months) and yet again I’m expecting zero bonus so this won’t hit me and my salary does cover my childcare costs plus a little bit so I don’t have to worry about having to stop working because it’s costing us for me to work (I have friends in this position)

But it’s that I’m starting to worry about the politics of envy and hate. The vilification of a whole group of people irrespective of the accuracy of the classification being accurate. We’ve started this but where does it stop?

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8 comments to >Time to stop bashing the bankers?

  • cartside

    >Of course most "bankers" are normal employess, on normal salaries. But it can't be ignored that those running the financial system got greedy and caused it to collapse. It also can't be ignored that the top bankers, with responsibilities, are on sickening incomes, while a large population of the UK is struggling to keep the heating on. This makes people mad and they will pick a victim.

    Yes, let's keep perspective and not villify, and I apologise for a term I used in another comment box, which was abusive. I got carried away and it was wrong. However, I very strongly believe that it is wrong to be receiving the kind of salaries and bonuses that quite a few people in the financial sector get. I also believe that many jobs are undervalued and underpaid, while others are overvaulued and overpaid, and that this causes social unreast. I also support a more progressive taxation system, increase of benefits, a living wage and a cap on maximum income.

    Sorry for such a political statement in a comment box. And thanks for raising this, because it's important to keep the debate open, to hear different views and come to productive changes that will be good for everyone, rather than just pick a scapegoat to make us feel better without actually changing anything.

  • make do mum

    >That's a hard thing to own up to these days!
    The media love slating bankers and paint them broadly as privileged 'Hooray Henry' types. And these people do exist as I've seen them (usually acting like idiots) in London city bars. But for every Henry there are hundreds of staff doing a good job on a normal salary. It's a pity they get tarred with the same brush.

  • London City Mum

    >If it's any consolation I am a former IB as well. I got out because I was a) sick of the politics, b) bored to tears of trading other people's money, and c) fed up with the pretentiousness of (some) awful colleagues who were really the scum of scum.

    Agree re the pay: basic is pretty basic and you rely on a bonus which is performance-related. However having said that, it is also SO subjective that I distinctly remember the occasions when I was penalised for either not sucking up to the right person or just not being flavour of the month with whomever was calling the shots.

    I got out to focus on somewhere I could grow as a person and be in charge of my own destiny – not sure yet how successful this has been, but it certainly has been far more enjoyable and rewarding!

    Always easier to vilify when you have not been 'on the receiving end', so to speak.

    LCM x

  • Mwa

    >I think it would be short-sighted to assume that all people in all banks are to blame for the crisis. That would just be silly.

  • Muddling Along Mummy

    >There are quite a few bankers who live up the stereotype – I know, I've worked with lots of them!

    LCM – I'm in M&A (sort of) so at least avoid the trading mentallity

    My big issue is vilifying a whole group of workers rather than those that actually caused the problem – its very easy to find a scapegoat and to focus on perpetuating that rather than dealing with the root problems

    It would also be nice if people realised that almost all bankers don't earn silly money – would be nice but just isn't the case

  • Metropolitan Mum

    >I used to work in a bank and I am so tired of blaming a certain group of people for the problems caused by a whole nation. I think it is extremely short sighted to blame 'the bankers' for the collapse of the financial system. Sure, there are the ones that have been greedy and earned silly money. But this didn't cause the system's collapse.
    I believe the problem rather to be rooted in the general public's attitude towards money. Credit cards were treated like actual money, people took out 100%+ mortgages for overvalued properties; buying, consuming, possessing had become the public's favourite pastime. My grandma taught me that you can't spend money that you don't actually own. It seems a lot of people had never heard that phrase in their entire lives. When the money flow had been cut off to shift debts from one credit card account to the next, reality hit home.
    On a different note: It would be wonderful to have a 'fair' tax system with higher taxes for higher incomes. The problem with that is that people on high incomes are usually highly mobile. It's what they call brain drain: Switzerland and Dubai are awaiting these people with open arms.

  • mummywhisperer

    >Thanks for being brave enough to post and admit to the horrifying truth – lol!

    I would also like to point out that it's not the bankers fault that so many of us got greedy and filled our credit cards and mortgages to the brink.
    I understand the temptation when my child accepts the chocolate biscuit (just a simple example), that he knows I said not to have – but he is still part of the equation.

    It's easy to have a go at 'bankers', but what people don't realise, is that those bankers employ a myriad of english cleaners, dog walkers, DIY men, plumbers, decorators, electricians etc – and it is those people who have had the guts to start up their own small businesses who are going to be hardest hit by this.

    There are Pro's and Con's to everything, and some people in some banks undoubtedly have a big part to play in the problems. Remember, the govt was warned NINE years ago about this happening and chose to ignore it.

    This is real life guys, not 'should life' and if they are offered money to move to different countries where they will be appreciated, they will go. The Times did an article where they reckoned it would it will have an incredibly dramatic effect on the UK if they leave – it could mean that we don't come out of the recession. So be careful what you wish for, is a wise warning at this point in time, for those wishing to see the back of 'bankers'

    (I am not in anyway underestimating the huge pain of people losing their houses, jobs etc – but that gets talked about a lot, so I'm just pointing out the other side too).

  • mummywhisperer

    >Thanks for being brave enough to post and admit to the horrifying truth – lol!

    I would also like to point out that it's not the bankers fault that so many of us got greedy and filled our credit cards and mortgages to the brink.
    I understand the temptation when my child accepts the chocolate biscuit (just a simple example), that he knows I said not to have – but he is still part of the equation.

    It's easy to have a go at 'bankers', but what people don't realise, is that those bankers employ a myriad of english cleaners, dog walkers, DIY men, plumbers, decorators, electricians etc – and it is those people who have had the guts to start up their own small businesses who are going to be hardest hit by this.

    There are Pro's and Con's to everything, and some people in some banks undoubtedly have a big part to play in the problems. Remember, the govt was warned NINE years ago about this happening and chose to ignore it.

    This is real life guys, not 'should life' and if they are offered money to move to different countries where they will be appreciated, they will go. The Times did an article where they reckoned it would it will have an incredibly dramatic effect on the UK if they leave – it could mean that we don't come out of the recession. So be careful what you wish for, is a wise warning at this point in time, for those wishing to see the back of 'bankers'

    (I am not in anyway underestimating the huge pain of people losing their houses, jobs etc – but that gets talked about a lot, so I'm just pointing out the other side too).

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