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.

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."


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Brown Stuffs Underpants Ahead Of Sarkozy Visit

THE prime minister has shoved a large pair of socks into his underpants ahead of today's state visit by French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Mr Brown has inserted a rolled-up pair of tube socks which he plans to wiggle casually in front of Carla Bruni, the former supermodel-turned- singer-turned-unbelievably hot wife.

The prime minister is expected to urge the French president to increase his troop commitment in Afghanistan before telling Madame Sarkozy that he still works out.

Mr Brown's spokesman said: "He'll then move onto how clever he is and the fact that he reads two books a week, and hey, maybe one of them is a sex manual.

"He'll also discuss the fact that he used to play quite a lot of rugby but had to scale it back because, you know, he's got a country to run and stuff.

"The prime minister will then tell a funny story about how his good friend Bono once compared him to John Lennon and inform Madame Sarkozy that if she wants to meet Bono he can totally arrange it."

The two leaders and their wives are expected to meet in the Downing Street banquet room surrounded by Mr Brown's weights, his acoustic guitar and some of his favourite volumes of French love poetry.

The spokesman added: "He'll round off the summit by asking Madame Sarkorzy if she has any Scottish in her."