06 September 2014

Common sense beginning to surface?

This would appear to be a sensible assessment.  What is surprising is that it has taken so long to get to this point.
But there's an interesting question about how the Bank of England and the big Scottish banks would react on 19 September if the result is "yes". Governor Mark Carney said a fortnight ago that there are contingency plans in place, but understandably declined to discuss them.
Step one, though, seems obvious: loud assurances to depositors that there is no reason whatsoever to withdraw money from Scottish banks, coupled with a reminder that Threadneedle Street remains responsible for financial stability across the whole of the UK right up until the moment of separation, which would be 2016 at the earliest.
As for Scottish banks themselves, their first response to a yes vote is equally clear.Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds would have to declare that they will move their registered offices from Edinburgh to London as soon as they can get approval from the courts.
The assets of the big two banks are 12 times as large as Scottish GDP, so there is no chance of an independent Scotland being able to act as a lender of last resort in a crisis.If there is doubt on the point, markets will jump on it and the banks' funding costs would soar.
Whether a move of a registered office is merely a shift of a brass-plate, or would herald an on-the-ground exodus from Edinburgh's financial centre, is a debate in itself.Either way though, RBS, Lloyds and TSB would have to say within hours of a yes vote that, legally, they can't be Scottish.
Sad to see the loss of the Scottish banks, but probably inevitable.  And it means that an independent Scottish government would not have to cope with such a major imbalance in its economy.



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