ALEX BRUMMER: A brutal betrayal of trust

The head office of Lehman Brothers in New York was seen in 2008. The collapse of the bank led to the worst global economic crisis since the 1930s

On the last afternoon before Lehman went bankrupt a decade ago, I enjoyed a family barbecue in North London.

Suddenly the mobile phone of the chief – a top assistant of the then chancellor Alistair Darling – went.

The cook frantically made notes on the back of a greasy napkin and realized that the father-in-law, a city editor, had disappeared to make urgent calls.

Given the atmosphere of impending doom in the banking system and on the markets, nobody needed Hercule Poirot to recognize that something serious was going on.

The head office of Lehman Brothers in New York was seen in 2008. The collapse of the bank led to the worst global economic crisis since the 1930s

The head office of Lehman Brothers in New York was seen in 2008. The collapse of the bank led to the worst global economic crisis since the 1930s

But the poker face of the government kept his act and only then did I hear about the content.

The desperate call was from chief of staff to US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, who pleaded for Darling's agreement with a plan by Barclays boss Bob Diamond to make a rescue for Lehman.

Darling had serious reservations about a negative political reaction if a British bank would board where Wall Street did not dare to enter.

The chancellor then consulted the bank authority Callum McCarthy before making a phone call to the US via the barbecue not to make a deal.

The colored napkin and the series of calls were carefully kept and then became a vital document when participants of those dramatic events had to remember testimonies and memoirs.

Lehman was ready within 24 hours, and the unfortunate images of bankers who entered the headquarters of the Canary Wharf group were everywhere on TV.

The dramatic events that followed, in particular the taxpayer salvation of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Lloyds-HBOS and the controversial self-help mission for Barclays in the Gulf, are well described.

As Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney yesterday claimed on this page's, banks are more resilient & # 39; and & # 39; have ten times more assets that are readily available in an emergency than before & # 39 ;.

That is why Carney was able to inform the cabinet that the financial system is robust enough to dispel the worst case of the Brexit and that it has been tested for stress for a fall in house prices of 35%.

Many bad results are attributed to the financial crisis and the subsequent recession, not least the pressure on household income and the rise of populism.

But as Carney also makes clear, the economic disaster – which was the theme of this week's trade show congress – is political mythology.

In the period since the bank has lowered interest rates to a low point and deals with quantitative easing – printing money – 3 million jobs have been created, the proportion of those working at the highest ever level, wages rise by 20 percent (before inflation) and real production by 18 percent.

If people want a benchmark, Italy has not grown at all since it joined the euro in 2000.

Nobody can pretend that everything is rosy in the garden. The last decade is really remarkable how little has changed and how little has been solved.

As we report today, former RBS chief Fred Goodwin still enjoys the fruits of his poorly held stewardship with a potential pension benefit of £ 16.5 million.

On the other side of the Atlantic, it took ten years before Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs and Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan began to abandon power.

Despite the misleading testimony of Dimon at the time of the London Whale & # 39; business in 2012, he remained in office and picked up about $ 30 million (£ 23 million) in salary each year.

Similarly, Blankfein survived the fine over the Abacus-structured product that was used to mislead investors, including RBS.

Closer to home, the confidence in our bankers is wafer thin. Paul Pester, TSB and Sabadell have destroyed confidence in online banking and have been criminally slow in dealing with complaints.

Branch closures and disappearing ATMs have left consumers and small businesses behind.

The scandal of the Global Restructuring Group and years of dissemination is about RBS. Allegations of a cover-up at Lloyds regarding the handling of fraud in the former HBOS office in Reading have not been resolved.

Jes Staley has been labeled by the regulator as & # 39; stupid & # 39; about his attempt to identify a whistleblower at Barclays.

The financial system may have become safer, but cultural and ethical misdeeds are just as persistent as ever.

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