Dame Clara Furse says her time as a director of Fortis during its state-sponsored bail-out "sensitised me to all kinds of extreme risks".
Jesse Norman, Conservative MP, is not happy. He called her testimony to the Treasury select committee "amazingly unimpressive" and says he will think seriously about whether he can support her nomination.
Norman has a point. Furse's account of what was wrong at Fortis, where she served on the bank's risk and capital committee, never rose above the mundane. The Belgians, in joining RBS's disastrous break-up bid for ABN Amro in 2007, were buying good Dutch branches, she said, but the problem was the execution of the financing in 2008's broken credit markets. It was a version of the familiar tale told by directors of bailed-out banks everywhere – we didn't see it coming.
Few others did, of course, including most regulators of the time. All the same, there is a clear issue of credibility. No former non-executive director of a bailed-out UK bank would be deemed suitable for service on the FPC. Why is a former non-executive of a bailed-out Belgian firm exempt?
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