Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Govt Admits Reform Was Huge, Misdirected Failure

That'll be the day.

Cobbett is bang on here. A huge bureaucracy has been created, ultimately paid for by Joe Public, yet by the FSA's own account, standards are still appalling in the financial services industry. Hmmm....sounds like the FSA needs massive reform - but don't hold your breath waiting for that either.

Actually, of course, the FSA hasn't been able to find any actual evidence of malpractice, far less consumer detriment, in its industry. The FSA's indictment, such as it is, revolves around the claim that 'two-thirds of the mortgage lenders it sampled did not have satisfactory processes in place'. Not only that, but processes tended to be less robust in smaller operations.

Well, I don't know about you, but I was shocked - shocked! - to find out that John Smith's Mortgage Brokerage has less robust systems than the Halifax. Who'd have thunk it ? Still, I dunno, it seems kind of.... indirect somehow. If only there was some more obvious way to check the quality of John's advice ?

What it all boils down to is time-serving public sector zombies berating the productive sector for not being having the kind of mindless worship of paperwork and process that has made the parasite sector what it is today. You think banks are bad now, wait till they start working as cheaply and efficiently as the NHS.

Still, the FSA is at least being true to its roots as a product of the blood-sucking sector. What are we to make of the other participants in the pile-on, organisations such as the Citizen's Advice and other consumer groups....

Hold it right there. I happen to think that if the FSA was kicked out of the trough, the public would immediately benefit from not having to fund thousands of overpaid leeches, but will any 'consumer association' ever say that ? For that matter, would the MSM ever refer to any organisation formed to push that world view as a 'consumer association'. Not in this lifetime. The designation 'consumer association' is reserved for Liberal astroturf organisations pushing Big Government. Maybe there's a compelling case for socialism, but if there is, why do these people need to hide what they're about under weaselly designations like 'consumer group' ?

Nope, any time an alleged consumer group opens its trap, you know you're going to get made-over Marxism and Big Government boosterism wrapped in fluffy bunny rhetoric about 'protecting the consumer'. For proof of that, look at their comments this time round. They're worried that banks may be lending money to people who can't repay it (which makes no sense until you remember that Liberals think business is like the public sector in that the more money you waste, the more you get).

OK then Libs, you win: from now on banks won't be allowed to victimise the working classes by offering them services. Only middle-class professionals with golf club memberships will be allowed to use banks. But wait...do I hear someone whining about 'financial exclusion' ? Why, yes, I believe I do.

So, in summary, banks are evil for lending to people who aren't even doctors or lawyers, but they're also evil for not lending to these people. But don't let that convince you that 'consumer groups' are anything less than disinterested defenders of the public good.

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