08 Sep '11, 9am
Britain's top 5 banks enjoy huge benefits from their "too-big-to-fail" status. So what's the quid pro quo? New report:
A fair deal for taxpayers? Banks occupy a unique position in our economy and enjoy privileges that other industries can never hope for. This is most obvious in the way that major banks – Northern Rock, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Lloyds TSB – were bailed out by the government during the financial crisis, moves that have prompted a great deal of public concern. But these bail-outs were just the tip of the iceberg. All the large banks also benefit from an implicit subsidy from taxpayers; because they will be bailed out, if necessary, markets view lending to them as low risk. This report quantifies this ‘too big to fail’ (TBTF) subsidy using methodology developed by the Bank of England. We found that while the TBTF subsidy has fallen from its mid-2009 peak, the ‘big five’ UK banks still enjoyed a combined TBTF subsidy of £46 billion in 2010. The TBTF subsidy in the UK is 62 p...