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Greensill should remind us of the virtue of having a Mainwaring in charge

Banking on the home guard
Greensill should remind us of the virtue of having a Mainwaring in charge
  • I’ve heard of lending against unpaid invoices, but
  • … lending against invoices that haven’t yet been issued
  • … on work that hasn’t yet been done
  • … for clients that haven’t yet been won
  • … you what?
  • Better call Fred! 

When I was a kid growing up in the 1980s and watching repeats of Dad’s Army, there was always something that slightly irked me about the power dynamic in the home-front sitcom. It wasn’t that I failed to appreciate the comic genius of having the dull-and-dutiful Captain Mainwaring in charge of the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard platoon. What rankled my young mind was how he came to be the manager at the local bank. Surely the philandering deputy manager, Sergeant Wilson, should have had the top job seeing he was obviously so much more creative, quick witted and insightful than his boss. Think of the economic boom Walmington would have enjoyed with Wilson running the town’s principal lender.

However, as I have understood banking a bit more – I still can’t claim to understand much – I have come to appreciate that prudence is the character trait that should probably trump all others in a banker. Debt is dangerous stuff. Handling it with care should be a banker’s chief concern, even if it does stifle some innovation. 

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