NEW YORK (Reuters Blogs) -- Here in the U.S., the bank-related scandals pertaining to the financial crisis invariably focus on the go-go years before everything fell apart, when the originate-to-distribute model created horribly skewed incentives across most of the privately-owned financial sector. In the UK, however, the latest big scandal is in many ways the exact opposite: it governs the behavior of Royal Bank of Scotland, one of the largest banks in the world, after the financial crisis, and after it was effectively nationalized by the UK government.
One of the problems with this story is that it's hard to find a single place where the scandal is clearly laid out in its full gruesomeness. The BBC has done probably the best job, but most of the credit here really goes to the Sunday Times, which conducted a two-month investigation, and whose story (which is behind a subscription paywall, sorry) is a fantastic example of how a well-chosen set of individual stories can really bring systemic problems into focus.
And then there's the Tomlinson Report. Lawrence Tomlinson is an entrepreneur and adviser to the government and has delivered a 20-page paper entitled Banks: Lending Practices: Treatment of Businesses in Distress. Its conclusions are clear but its methodology is not, and I'm a bit sad that Tomlinson, after six months' work, didn't spend a little bit of effort to make the report more readable and provide detail on how exactly he arrived at his conclusions.