The Royal Bank was all over the broadsheets today, telling us, via full-page ads, that the bank "recognises that small businesses are the lifeblood of the country." That's nice. But you should have seen the first draft of the body copy for the ad....
"Here at The Royal Bank of Scotland we recognise that small businesses are the lifeblood of the country. In fact, we like small businesses so much, we're so convinced that they are the future, that senior management here at The Royal Bank just narrowly avoided turning a big business, the bank, into a small business.
Luckily, we had the taxpayer to bail us out, but remember, your small business might not be so lucky. So, look after cash flow, don't make impulsive buying decisions based on a hunch that could lead you to buying say, something like ABN Imro at the top of the market with the p/e ratio completely out of whack and then finding that you've fucked your liquidity.
Red faces all round!
So what are we doing to help those lifeblood businesses who don't unfortunately have Alistair Darling's number on speed dial if it all goes tits up?
Well, what we're doing is committing the bank to overcharging you for your overdraft at exactly the same rate of overcharging for a whole year!
We guarantee not to change the rate at which we overcharge you (subject to terms and conditions not enumerated anywhere on the ad, which I thought was illegal) for at least a year!
Fan-fuckin'-tastic isn't it?
The RBS: when it comes to supporting small businesses, no bank makes a bigger fuss about doing absolutely hee-haw."
Inside: This is true. The ad headline is: "To us, they're not small businesses." Presumably the coda, "To us they're also a source of continual, easy profit" got lost off the end.