Living dangerously: Diary of an ABS Professional, Week 19

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In which Mr ABS lays his woes firmly at the door of the Government.

Last week RBS announced it was letting 200 people go. Unlike other banks, it seems to have held on until the liquidity crisis got really bad before making serious redundancies. Citigroup and Lehman have had no such compunction - both have announced redundancies already and are sadly set to announce more in the weeks to come.

Having been made redundant already, I have no such concerns. Right now, my main preoccupation is my mortgage, which is with Northern Rock.

When Northern Rock was nationalised, the Government told us it intended to sell the bank later as a going concern. I, however, have my doubts about this.

Last week, I called Northern Rock to enquire about the refinancing of my mortgage. The person I spoke to informed me that its rates are no longer competitive and that I'd be better off talking to someone else. It was only when I persisted that that the adviser divulged the exact rates, which were indeed grossly extortionate. I asked whether anyone was actually taking out new mortgages with Northern Rock; he informed me two to three people per day.

Putting aside the fact that it isn't telling the whole truth about the Northern Rock situation, there are several other reasons why I feel disgruntlement towards the current administration.

They are:

1) I ended up spending more on buying a house than I ideally would have, because with stamp duty so high it made sense to stretch myself a bit to avoid having to move again in two or three years' time to accommodate a larger family.

2) Last year my personal tax contribution to HM Revenue & Customs was an amount sufficient to support my family for three and a half years, including my mortgage instalments. And yet today - now that I'm in trouble - I'm entitled to no aid from the government.

3) Because the legal framework that protects employees is poor, I had to accept a meagre and outrageously low severance package, considering my P&L (I appreciate that the advantage of this is job market liquidity, but that doesn't seem to exist in ABS land currently).

4) The BoE could have prevented the Northern Rock crisis, but failed to do so. And Mervyn King, who does not embrace macho rate cuts, has not only got away scot free, but has even been reappointed by the Government.

5) To cap it all, the Government is now planning to embezzle my savings with an abnormally high base rate at Northern Rock.

Since Northern Rock used to have 10% of the mortgage market, it is quite possible that RBS has probably sent home some 20 people in a situation similar to mine. As the Centre for Economic and Business Research estimates that the credit crisis may lead to 20,000 job losses in London's financial services industry over the next two years, there will soon be plenty of candidates to start an urban guerrilla war against the current administration. And then you'll be able to call me Che.

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