April 05 - A UK parliamentary committee has published a damning report into the collapse of British lender HBOS, saying it was so badly run it would have failed even without the 2008 crisis. The lawmakers lay most of the blame at the feet of HBOS executives, who were described as incompetent. Joanna Partridge reports.
Incompetent, reckless, deluded. Just some of the ways UK parliamentarians described bosses of the bailed-out British lender HBOS. The Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards said regulators were partly to blame, but primary responsibility lay with Dennis Stevenson, chairman of HBOS from its creation to its collapse, and former chief executives James Crosby and Andy Hornby. Andrew Tyrie heads the commission. SOUNDBITE: Andrew Tyrie, Head of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, saying (English): "This was a colossal failure of management, right at the top of HBOS, and the results were catastrophic, and we're still picking up the pieces, we the taxpayer." HBOS was founded in 2001 after a merger between Halifax and Bank of Scotland. Britain's biggest mortgage lender collapsed in 2008 - and had to be rescued in a government-engineeering takeover by its rival Lloyds, which itself then needed a bailout to survive. GFX The Commission said 25 billion pounds was lost on bad corporate loans and there were losses of 15 billion at its international business and 7 billion at its treasury unit. Robert Cole from Reuters Breaking Views says financial crisis aside, the bank's business was flawed. SOUNDBITE: Robert Cole, Reuters Breaking Views, saying (English): "The parlimentarians are saying quite clearly that HBOS should have known what it was doing in 2004, 2005, 2006 when it was reducing its capital. It collapsed not because of the worldwide financial crisis, it clearly wasn't helped by that, but it collapsed because of some catastrophically foolish decisions." British lawmakers say regulators should consider banning former HBOS executives from the financial services industry. SOUNDBITE: Andrew Tyrie, Head of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, saying (English): "What particularly sticks in the gullet of the taxpayer is they feel that the people who made these mistakes have not been brought to book." Tyrie expressed surprise only one HBOS executive, the head of corporate lending, has been punished over the collapse. After the report, James Crosby, the bank's CEO between 2001 and 2006 resigned as an advisor to private equity firm Bridgepoint.