It’s easy to take a swipe at banks, and tempting to think it was all about the good old days, when the bank manager knew his (mostly, his) customers personally. Dave Fishwick of Burnley Savings and Loans seems to think so. Frustrated at seeing loan applications from apparently credit-worthy local businesses refused by faceless administrators, or even computers, located far away from honest Burnley – probably in the wicked South – he set up his own bank, Read More

Comment | September 2012

Banks, eh? Easy to knock them, but what can we learn from their travails? Well, they illustrate perfectly how a. incentives drive behaviour, and b. delighting shareholders is unlikely to be a winning strategy in the long term. John Kay’s book Obliquity explores the principle that complex goals are best achieved indirectly, with examples of companies which achieved sustainable profitability by focusing not on their profit goals but on what their customers needed from them. Read More

Comment | July 2012