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I am writing to enquire whether you have any vacancies on your strategic board for someone of my talents. I realise that it is a little unorthodox to apply ‘on spec’ for such a high-ranking position within your organisation, but I believe I have the necessary skills to further increase the profits and assets of Big Bank Plc. In this letter I will attempt to demonstrate my knowledge of the challenges and opportunities in our marketplace.

1) Who are our customers?

I understand that our most lucrative customers are those with the least awareness of financial matters; indeed, the less numerate they are, the better. Rather like the dear old PM, in fact.

If they don’t know the difference between APR and AER, if they fail to read the small print in their credit contracts – not that it matters, as I’m sure I have the necessary legal skills to make such text impenetrable – and if their limited attention is grabbed by an ‘introductory’ rate, then they are exactly the kind of people we need to target.

I think that if we closely follow that other highly successful model of commerce – drug dealing – we won’t go far wrong in attracting and retaining the right customer base.

2) How do we get people to take on more debt?

I’ve been thinking about this, since we need people to be in debt so that they pay us lots of interest. I believe the best way is to start with an asset class that everybody needs and arrange for its price to increase by far more than the general inflation rate. Then the people who want to buy the new, over-priced assets will have to take on far more debt than would otherwise have been the case.

Of course, the people who bought the assets prior to the excessive price inflation wouldn’t be in debt, but I think we can get around that by encouraging them to take on larger loans for, say, holidays, new TVs, big cars, that sort of thing (maybe even encouraging them to buy more assets to loan to other people?), all while securing them against the now-increased ‘value’ of their asset. We could describe these loans as ‘Asset Equity Release’ or something; it sounds so much more friendly than ‘Borrowing a Lot of Money.’

Ultimately this would mean that everyone is in far greater debt, paying us far more money, for exactly the same asset! Genius, eh?

Oh. Hang on. That’s already been done with houses, hasn’t it?

3) Social conscience.

Every responsible company should have a social conscience, and Big Bank Plc is no different. We need to be in tune with the society in which we operate, sharing the values of our customers.

Luckily that’s not too difficult; our customers are greedy and so are we! They want lots of money, right now. We want lots of money, but we can wait (that old ‘deferred gratification’ thing).

So we simply sell them the money to fulfil their greedy dreams, and they sign up for a lifetime of debt slavery to fulfil ours. Everyone’s a winner!

4) Get-out.

I have noticed that some of our customers have been attempting to escape from their obligations through IVAs, bankruptcy and so on. This really won’t do. Luckily we have a role model to follow here; America. The banking industry there successfully lobbied Congress to make it almost impossible to escape from credit card debt, even in bankruptcy.

There’s much work to be done in the UK by comparison, but we’re getting there. Escape from student loan debt is almost impossible and an IVA won’t release people from mortgage debt. There’s still credit card debt, but at least we can now secure that on property (I love that one; we sell an unsecured loan at punitive rates, then secure it! They’d have been better off just getting a secured loan! How stupid are these people?).

So, there’s just the problem of escape through bankruptcy, but I think we can work on that. Friends in government, nudge nudge, wink wink. Give me time…

5) Our friends at Westminster.

Speaking of government, I think our special relationship is going rather well, don’t you? They want a population that feels wealthy even though it isn’t (see number 2 above), that is unlikely to cause trouble (who can afford to go on strike when you have huge debts to service?) and that isn’t educated enough to understand what’s being done to them (have you seen the latest exam results?).

Those are our goals too; it’s a marriage made in heaven. And if they want to rack up even more debt on the population’s behalf, we’re only too happy to oblige.

We do need to be more careful at times, though. Our so-called competitor’s ‘employment’ of that ex-Prime Minister so soon after leaving office was rather rubbing people’s faces in it, don’t you think? A few of the less stupid ones might start to put two and two together.

6) Media

Can we keep the mainstream and financial media ‘on-side’, thus keeping the population distracted by pointless celebrity gossip, ‘reality’ TV programmes (oh, the irony), diversionary economic scare stories and back-to-back shows extolling the virtues of never-ending asset inflation (and with it, never ending debt)?

Of course we can – we own most of them! And the government owns much of the rest. Anyway, people actually seem to want this stuff. Bread and circuses, I suppose.

7) What happens if we run out of money?

See number 5. There are plenty of options if we ever run into difficulties – direct government ‘loans’ (rolled over ad infinitum), dropping the base rate below real inflation while raising lending rates, etc. – but they all boil down to one thing: take money from the tax-payer while using inflation to mask the theft. With a bit of luck we can even get the public to demand this action for us, with the help of the media.

And anyway, we’re not actually lending real money, are we? It’s created from nothing at the point at which the loan is granted. So what do we have to lose?

I look forward to your reply.

Yours faithfully,

Mr Wanabe A Banker

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