Anglican Samizdat

December 13, 2009

Whack a Banker

Filed under: Christianity — David Jenkins @ 4:53 pm

Bankers have become as unpopular as tax-collectors. Barack Obama doesn’t like them:

“I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street,” Mr. Obama said in an interview to be broadcast on CBS’s “60 Minutes” program Sunday evening, according to excerpts made available ahead of the program.

Relations between the banking industry and the White House began frosty and have deteriorated in recent weeks, with large banks lobbying against legislation that would toughen financial-market regulations and administration officials frustrated by some banks’ continued payment of high bonuses and their reluctance to lend.

Mr. Obama reiterated that frustration in the interview, noting that some banks have continued to award bonuses and restrict lending while many Americans struggle with unemployment. “Some people on Wall Street still don’t get it,” he said.

Rowan Williams really doesn’t like them:

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams: bankers have failed to repent.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has attacked the bonus culture of the City, condemning the failure of bankers to repent for their excesses.

Dr Rowan Williams, who has consistently taken a left-of-centre line on economic issues, said that the Government should have acted to cap bonuses. He warned that the gap between rich and poor would lead to an increasingly “dysfunctional” society.

Dr Williams said: “There hasn’t been a feeling of closure about what happened last year. There hasn’t been what I would, as a Christian, call repentance. We haven’t heard people saying ‘well actually, no, we got it wrong and the whole fundamental principle on which we worked was unreal, empty’.”

And now the British public has a chance to whack a banker:Add an Image

An arcade game that allows people to vent their anger at bankers has proved so popular the owner keeps having to replace worn out mallets.

Inventor Tim Hunkin introduced “Whack a Banker”, which is based on the older “Whack a Mole” game, at his arcade on Southwold pier in Suffolk.

Instead of players hitting pop-up moles with a mallet, within a set time, the target is pop-up bald figures.

Mr Hunkin said the game was “proving very popular”.

I wonder what Jesus thinks about bankers? Perhaps the same as he thought about the famous tax-collecor, Zacchaeus:

He entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” Luke 19:1ff

As liberal Christians love to point out: Jesus sides with the marginalised and downtrodden.



  1. Come on, the frustration is warranted. Don’t you think that those bonuses show that they don’t get the seriousness of the situation, or just don’t care? Even Steven Harper has said that the financial regulations in the States are totally inadequate.

    Comment by Kate — December 14, 2009 @ 6:48 am

  2. This is a difficult one. Here in Britain, possible action against big bonuses have, apparently, caused many London bankers to look for jobs in other financial centres (like New York) which, of course, would not be good for London, or the UK. I’m not left wing, and strongly oppose Obama (because of his promotion of abortion), but I do believe there is a lot of greed among bankers, etc., who – as you say – are prepared to take mega-mega-bucks, while the rest of us, UK and US, and others, have to watch our expenses carefully, in effect, to go poor. So laws against greed are not bad in themselves – but if they make the money-makers (sadly, yes, this is indeed what they do) go abroad, we will suffer … A no-win situation …

    Comment by John Thomas — December 14, 2009 @ 11:27 am

  3. Maybe if the greedy ones go abroad, the ones who aren’t greedy will be promoted, and do a better job. Who’s to say?

    Comment by Kate — December 14, 2009 @ 12:43 pm

  4. I should add, my dad was a banker. When he died, his job title had been Senior Manager, International Trade and Finance with the Bank of Montreal. In his day, bonuses were paid for a job well done….

    Comment by Kate — December 15, 2009 @ 11:47 am

  5. Let’s hope you’re right, Kate, losing the greediest will create a more wholesome financial sector. But we always have to accept the inherent tendency to badness, in people, and places where wealth/power are in abundance are the most corrupting places. The worst, here, is that (unlike your dad) the leaders of the big banks have seemingly led them into disaster, certainly many banks have had great losses and instability.

    Comment by John Thomas — December 16, 2009 @ 11:54 am

  6. He didn’t go to university, and he worked his way up from teller. His breed is long gone, I am afraid.

    Comment by Kate — December 17, 2009 @ 11:11 am

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