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King: banks ‘could learn a thing or two’ from Olympics

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Banks "could learn a thing or two about fair play" from the Olympic movement, according to Bank of England governor Mervyn King.

King also said the games’ impact on confidence could boost the economy.

Writing on the Mail on Sunday, he said there were lessons to be learned for the British economy from the success of the 2012 games, including that an objective worth attaining, “like a gold medal, requires years of hard work”.

“Success does not come overnight. That is as true of our economy as it is of sport,” he wrote.

King added the banking system must be reformed to focus less on making money in the short term and more on building businesses to serve customers’ needs over time.

“Yes, for many years, our financial sector sustained the illusion that it was possible to become a millionaire overnight by buying and selling pieces of paper. But we have seen how paper fortunes in financial markets can disappear overnight,” he said.

“Things need to change. The government’s plans to build a wall between banks’ risky trading on one side, and their lending to businesses and families on the other, will help. As will the injection of new competition into our banking system.”

He added that “as recent scandals have shown, banks could learn a thing or two about fair play from the Olympic movement”.

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