The writer of this piece, Christopher Hope, raises no doubts. He doesn't ask whether it's appropriate for this company to enter retail banking, targeting the very people it gets money from the government to help. But 2006 was the point at which insanity in the banking system was poised to crash and ruin us all. It doesn't seem very likely now that we'll see A4e Bank (or Capitec UK) branches on the High Street. But the ambition hasn't gone away. And when Lovell's latest thoughts on the subject are published in the Telegraph, will anyone go back 5 years and look at the history? I doubt it.
Saturday, 4 June 2011
That A4e bank
As Mark Lovell pushes for a financial and banking role for A4e, we should remember that their plans for a bank have a long history. I've described before how the plans came to nothing, but I've only just come across this lengthy piece in the Telegraph from September 2006. It describes, entirely uncritically, how A4e was "in talks with a major South African banking provider for the new service, which should have as many as 150 branches. Plans were submitted to the Financial Services Authority in London some months ago." (We know that this South African bank was Capitec, and that A4e actually set up Capitec UK.) "A4e said the venture was likely to cost between £50m and £100m in the first instance." £1m of public money was subsequently allocated for this venture by a section of the North West Regional Development Agency.