THE Government's Bill to reform the banking sector in light of
the financial crisis of 2008 was expected to complete its
parliamentary passage on Wednesday night, during a "ping-pong"
session, at which the Bill would pass between the House of Commons
and House of Lords to confirm final amendments.
By the time the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Bill had
completed its passage through the Lords late on Monday, it had
grown from 29 pages, when it was introduced to the Commons in
February, to about 200 pages.
Many of the changes were introduced by the Government in the
Lords to take account of the recommendations of the Parliamentary
Committee on Banking Standards, which included the Archbishop of
Canterbury among its members.
In a short debate in the Lords on the Banking Commission's five
reports last week, Archbishop Welby summarised why he believed that
reform was needed.
"In 2008, the Chancellor of the Exchequer found himself faced
late one night with the choice of commitment of large sums of money
- hundreds of billions of pounds - or of the collapse of almost
everything in our society that makes money real," Archbishop Welby
told peers. "In the years since, scandal after scandal has become
apparent. Out of these vast events arose what was described as 'a
profound loss of trust born of profound lapses in banking
He described one banker who "had borne the whole weight of it on
his shoulders and suffered greatly as a result. There was no lack
of responsibility from him. When asked if, in the depths of the
night, he looked back and thought that he might have done
differently, he said that you can have a big simple bank or a small
complicated bank; you cannot have a big complicated bank. He said
that if he had his time again, he would have kept it simple."
The Archbishop resisted calls from peers for the Commission to
continue its work.
During the debate, a number of peers paid tribute to the work of
Archbishop Welby on the Commission. Lord Brooke of Sutton
Mandeville said that Archbishop Welby was "playing a blinder".