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Crisis watch

Just because many banks have been around forever doesn't give them the right to exist. Let's ditch them, and get new banks instead

By Jonathan Ford   April 2009

We want new banks.

Just one US industrial company, General Electric, has been in the Dow Jones index from its inception in 1896 to the present day. All the others (who now remembers the Distilling and Cattle Feeding Company or American Cotton Oil?) have either perished or been absorbed into other organisations in a healthy process of renewal. By contrast, banks seem to last forever.

Financial institutions have, of course, amalgamated over the past century, but rarely has a new entrant muscled its way on to the scene. In Britain, Barclays has its roots in the 17th century; Lloyds was…

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