Tuesday, March 17, 2009

BBC memory lapse

The BBC reports " Making the Post Office the "people's bank" could secure its future and help those not served by banks, a coalition of MPs and interest groups is arguing.They are due to outline plans for a Post Bank, offering a wide range of financial services at its branches. ..."

Yet in the whole report by the BBC not one single mention of Girobank and its shameful sell-off to Alliance and Leicester for a pittance in 1990 .
Girobank had grown rapidly to become Britain's sixth biggest bank in a few years after its launch in 1968. Lets not forget these facts about Girobank .

According to wikipedia , It was the first bank designed with computerised operations in mind; the first bank in Europe to adopt OCR (optical character recognition) technology; the first UK bank to offer free accounts to individuals; and the first bank in Europe to offer telephone banking, beating the much trumpeted First Direct service by several years. It is widely credited for shaking up the UK banking market, forcing competitors to innovate and respond to the needs of the mass market...Although the Giro did offer personal loans through a third party, it did not offer many of these main services on its own behalf until after the relaunch in 1978. It added savings accounts, overdrafts, revolving credit accounts, credit and debit cards, and was instrumental in the formation of the LINK ATM consortium of smaller banks and building societies which led the commercial clearing banks to begin linking their own networks which they had hitherto refused to do. It was also quick to establish internet banking and mass market it to its customers. So although the Girobank ended up looking much like any other bank, it was clearly nothing like the type of bank it originally expected to be, but it had also been instrumental in changing the competitive nature of the banking market in the UK and had been a great innovator.

It will also be remembered according to The Guardian for introducing the first interest-paying current account in a move that forced the high street banks to fall into line.

If memory serves me right , it was sold for £300 -odd million yet surprisingly enough - not , Alliance and Leicester valued it in its following financial report at about a billion pounds .

Yet the BBC conveniently forgets this past privatisation of the Post Office assets failure and the then government's short sightedness when it is preently busy trumpetting Mandelson's attempts to sell off Royal Mail !!

No comments: