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Mervyn turns a tidy profit

The Bank of England secretly lent huge sums to prop up broken banks. But who cares?

By Mark Hannam   January 2010

It was, said one MP, “a shocking cover-up.” Another was “outraged”; a third complained about “how many jobs you could support with all this money.” The broadsheets prominently covered the scandal. The cause of the distress? The announcement on 24th November that, in autumn 2008, the Bank of England provided emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) to the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS). These “secret loans” totalled about £60bn and were repaid by RBS in December 2008 and HBOS in January 2009.

Those acquainted with the workings of London’s wholesale money markets were unsurprised by the…

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