London, UK, 12 October 2018 – Research and campaign group Positive Money have this morning delivered a ‘birthday’ card to RBS admonishing the bank for its failure to change in the decade since it was bailed out by the UK government.
Positive Money campaigners handed the A0 (0.841 x 1.189 m) card to an RBS branch in Angel, North London as it opened at 9.15am this morning. The card features the words “10 years since the global financial crash, happy anniversary” on its front. On the inside, the left page reads “10 years on and none the wiser! A decade on and you haven’t changed a bit! How come you still look exactly the same?” The page opposite is filled with dozens of messages written by members of the public.
Messages for the card were collected at a rally outside the Bank of England organised by the 10 Years On coalition to mark the tenth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers on 15 September, which featured speakers including Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.
This Saturday, 13 October, marks ten years since the UK government had to step in to become the majority shareholder of RBS, saving it from collapse. The government is now preparing to sell-off its majority stake at a loss of over £26bn, but Positive Money is campaigning for the government to instead keep its holding in RBS, and use it to reform the bank so that it better serves Britain’s economy .
Fran Boait, executive director of Positive Money, said:
“A decade ago the government chose to take ownership of RBS, but not control. As such the bank has simply reverted back to its toxic behaviour – closing down branches, ripping off small businesses and lending primarily towards speculation rather than the real economy.
“Rather than selling off its majority stake at a huge loss to the taxpayer, the government must use it to provide leadership to Britain’s banking sector. This could involve breaking up RBS into a network of community banks that actually serve local communities and the real economy.
“Doing so would make financial sector more resilient and would help make finance serve the economy, rather than the other way around.”
Analysis by Positive Money for the 10 Years On coalition in September found that the average household had lost out on over £23,000 each since the crash. In August polling from Positive Money also showed that over two-thirds of Britons still don’t trust banks to work in society’s best interests, and nearly three-quarters believed that the banks should have received harsher punishments for their role in the crisis.
Pictures of Friday’s stunt are available for use, and can be accessed here.
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About Positive Money
Positive Money campaigns for a money and banking system which supports a fair, democratic and sustainable economy. Set up in the aftermath of the financial crisis, Positive Money is a not-for-profit company funded by charitable trusts and foundations, as well as small donations from its network of over 65,000 supporters.
About 10 Years On
10 Years On is a civil society initiative to mark a decade since the global financial crisis demanding a sustainable financial system where the banking sector first and foremost serves the best interests of people and the planet, working with a network of organisations across Europe to Change Finance. Supporting UK organisations include Positive Money, the Robin Hood Tax campaign, Unite the Union, Christian Aid, War on Want, Christians on the Left, Global Justice Now and Rethinking Economics.