What’s A Bank? Asks FSA

THE Financial Services Authority could be stripped of some of its regulatory powers after admitting it didn't know what a bank was.

'Do I have to read the whole thing?'

The regulator said it bought a copy of the Oxford Dictionary of Finance and Banking off Amazon last summer after reading about the problems at Northern Rock, but was still on the introduction.

Hector Sants, the FSA chief executive, said it was 'quite dry' and 'a bit heavy-going in places' but that he hoped to have completed it before the end of the year.

Mr Sants said: "Did you know the first modern bank was founded in Genoa in 1406? Fascinating.

"A bank takes in spare money from people, which they called a deposit, and then gives it out to others as something called a loan.  

"But some banks borrow a lot of money off other banks and then give this money out to people as well, who don't give it back to them, and then we have a stock market. Or something like that."

He added: "I can’t be doing with all this chip and pin either.

"I spent £200 in Tesco the other day, get to the till and put in the wrong bloomin' number. Again. It's very confusing.

"I offered to put all the stuff back but they wouldn't hear of it. They were really very nice."