Hubris: How HBOS Wrecked the Best Bank in Britain Hardcover – 6 Sep 2012
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'We are indebted to Ray Perman for giving us a powerful lesson on what happens when you usurp the wisdom of a banking culture acquired over centuries for the pursuit of market share and profit at all and any cost' --The Scotsman
'...as a document of the long and short-term causes of one of British banking's lowest moments, Perman's book more than delivers. Its balanced treatment of the major players involved should be required reading for anyone wondering where to position the likes of Hornby in the credit crunch Hall of Shame'
'an engaging account of HBOS's downfall' --Jonathan Guthrie, Financial Times --Breaking Views
'...as a document of the long and short-term causes of one of British banking's lowest moments, Perman's book more than delivers. Its balanced treatment of the major players involved should be required reading for anyone wondering where to position the likes of Hornby in the credit crunch Hall of Shame' --Breaking Views
'[An] admirably lucid account' --Independent on Sunday
About the Author
Ray Perman was a journalist in London and Edinburgh for thirty years. He was a co-founder of the business magazine Insider Publications and was Chief Executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise from 1999 to 2003. In 2011 he was appointed Chairman of The James Hutton Institute, the first institute of its type in Europe dedicated to making new contributions to the understanding of key global issues such as food, energy and environmental security.
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Top Customer Reviews
Immediately the 'merger' was consumated the direction and running of HBOS was dominated by the men from Yorkshire, who were compared to the religious fanatics of Afganistan - 'The Haliban', and led by Andy Hornby, a marketing whizz-kid from the supermarket chain Asda, who swamped the combined company with a 'tsunami' of a vastly increased portfolio of riskier mortgages, big ticket business loans , and poorly adjudged commercial property lending, financed in the large part by securitizations, and short term borrowings. Even at the start of 2008 when the property market was imploding worldwide, HBOS buried it's head in tha sand and publicly announced "Some people look as though they are losing their nerve - beginning to panic even - in today's testing property environment. Not us". It was soon seen as a highly reckless and irresponsible delusory statement but was indicative of the almost total lack of understanding of the gravity of the situation the bank had manoeuvred itself into. Despite falling profits and horrendously massive bad debts looming ahead pay and bonuses for the top executives escalated upwards.Read more ›
Maybe part of the problem was that, as Perman reveals on page 96 of the book, executive directors were allowed to appoint the non-executives - the exact opposite of what's meant to happen in a PLC.
Perman makes clear that, until some 25 years ago, the Bank of Scotland was actually trusted by its customers. When it adopted its 'A Friend for life' slogan in 1984, Perman claims, 'it was not greeted with cynicism. People believed it meant it, and more importantly, it did.' However by the 1990s the leadership of the Bank of Scotland and other UK banks had no qualms about sacrificing this trust on the altar of greed. Not only did they start prioritising sales over service (and, latterly, financial stability); they also started playing fast and loose with their own balance sheets in pursuit of targets that were often quixotic and ephemeral.
Perman recounts how things deteriorated further following Bank of Scotland's ill-considered merger with Halifax in September 2001.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fascinating insight into the psychotic behaviour that had ignorance at its heart. The failure to see the elephant in the room whilst chasing a vain glorious dream that ended in... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Anthony
I had to read this for a strategy course and I really enjoyed it. Interesting from the point of view of recent history, strategy and people interest. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Neil Leslie
Authorative sign of the time with interesting insights from all the key players.Published 9 months ago by Mark Ashworth
This book should be made available to all students of economics - from 6th form upwardsPublished 9 months ago by KATH BEVINGTON
I lost £2000 savings when HBOS failed. I could ill afford to lose it but other people lost much more. Read morePublished 11 months ago by buyerbeware
You hear a lot about RBS but not a lot about how Halifax and Bank of Scotland became doomed. Interesting to see how they managed to mess things up a bit different from RBS. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Charger
Great book, very informative. Important to understand how banks negatively affected the lives of so many people and how their directors are not actually able to understand and... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Hilary Spencer Martins
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