Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Businessman rapper shows why bankers and stars should face music

By Simon Read

Did much improve last year? I started the year writing about poor service from the likes of banks and energy companies and have ended the year writing almost the same.

But there have been some interesting success stories along the way. For instance, I suggested that the rapper Sean Combs, formerly known as Puff Daddy and P Diddy, should set up his own bank. Why? Because he has become a successful multi-millionaire businessman, while many of our bankers face disgrace. In January, it was the former Co-operative Bank chairman Paul Flowers who was in the spotlight - more for his sex and drugs shame than his banking exploits.

Almost a year on, and his former bank last month failed the Bank of England's stress test - which measured how well it would do in a future economic downturn. The failure - and subsequent admission that it won't make a profit for the next two years - is symptomatic of the complete disaster the bank became under Flowers' chairmanship.

I have also lambasted Bob Dylan this year for taking cash to flog lingerie.

That was part of a wider piece complaining about celebrities - such as Sir Michael Parkinson, Annette Crosbie, Cilla Black and Carol Vorderman - lending their names to dodgy financial products.

My conclusion was that banks have been forced to pay out billions for mis-selling useless payment protection insurance so Sir Michael Parkinson and the rest of his money-grabbing mates should be forced to make things good out of their own pocket for every mis-sold loan or insurance they helped to trick people into buying.

Also this year, I reported on the folk who queued up to be paid double their money at a Lloyds Bank ATM at Mansfield Woodhouse in Nottinghamshire.

It had been loaded incorrectly by a member of staff who put £20 notes in the tenner slot. It meant anyone withdrawing £100 was paid £200 and so on.

When the mistake was discovered word was quickly spread by jubilant people eager for friends to cash in and a long queue built up at the ATM.

My view was that those who did so knew that it was an error and were morally wrong to cash in on it.

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