Home / Humour / Barclays Capital is not just any old investment bank

Barclays Capital is not just any old investment bank

I love the understatement in some magazines when they refer to companies.

For example, they might say: “according to a report today from Microsoft, a software company”; or, “in the news today the BBC, a broadcasting company” … a bit like US reports saying: “news today from London, England” or “Paris, France”.

OK, OK, I know that it could be “Paris, Texas” but if it was “Paris, Texas” then say “Paris, Texas”, as the real Paris is always in France and always has been.

You got it, it’s Monday and I’m not in the best of moods … too little Christmas shopping done and several hundred cards to write.

Sod it, I’ll just send an ecard instead.

Far easier and probably can just ‘bcc’ everyone with it in one click, done.


So what’s pulled my chain this morning?

The Economist.

The Economist?

Yes, the Economist?

You see, they’ve published a fascinating item on bank lending, that shows bank lending to corporates and consumers has nose dived since the crisis hit, with the UK, USA and Australia particularly badly hit:

Bank Lending 

In fact, looking at Britain and Australia’s lines specifically, you see a massive boom in lending pre-crisis, with year-on-year rises exceeding 20%.

This is why the contraction in lending and credit is hitting so hard, as we’ve gone from over 20% rise year-on-year to a negative 5-10% year-on-year.

In other words, a net contraction of 25% to 30% over earlier times.

No wonder everyone’s hurting.

But why has this irritated me?

It should please me.

Well, no.

The Economist pulled my chain with their writing about this chart, saying: “According to Barclays Capital, an investment bank.”

Barclays Capital is not just any old investment bank.

It’s Bob Diamond’s bank.

And Bob Diamond is Bobtimistic to be Bob the Builder as Barclays’ Bobster in Chief.

You’re now probably thinking I’ve completely lost it but that’s OK, it’s Christmas.

I don’t mind losing it at this time of year.

Actually, the real reason for the Bobtimistic reference is that I had also just been reading Bloomberg Markets this week, with their front page story on the Bobster.

Here’s a flavour of that story:

As 1,100 managing directors from Barclays Capital descended on the Grosvenor House hotel near London’s Hyde Park in late September, they had more to celebrate than having successfully swallowed the North American unit of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. two years earlier.

Their guy, Bob Diamond, the Massachusetts-born founder of Barclays Capital, had just been handed the top job at parent Barclays Plc in a sign of how he had transformed the 320-year-old British institution in his 14 years as investment bank chief, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.

“Bobtimistic” is how Rich Ricci, Barclays Capital’s new co-chief executive officer, described Diamond’s eternally upbeat attitude to the assembled executives as he introduced a five- minute video send-off.

“I’d like to say that he’s too humble to recount what we are about to show in this video, but you’ll probably just have to hear it twice,” Ricci joked.

The tribute, heralded by blaring trumpets, featured a digital scrapbook titled “The Wonder Years,” with clips of Diamond hiking up his yellow suspenders in 1997 as he talked about making Barclays Capital a bond market leader; a mock image of him dressed like the children’s cartoon character Bob the Builder; his first pep talk to Lehman employees after acquiring the bankrupt broker-dealer in 2008; and photos of him with Rolling Stone Mick Jagger, soccer stars of London’s Chelsea Football Club and pro golfer Phil Mickelson.

Enough … I’m now feeling really ill …


About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here…

Check Also

Is FOMO driving you MADD?

A long time ago, a man would go to work whilst the woman would stay …