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Banker fined and banned over HBOS
The Financial Services Authority said Peter Cummings had failed to exercise enough care and attention in his corporate division
A banker has been banned from any senior UK banking position and fined a record £500,000 by the City watchdog for his part in the collapse of Halifax Bank of Scotland.
Peter Cummings, former head of corporate banking at HBOS, was behind many of the bank's high-profile deals, before it was bailed out by the taxpayer.
The Financial Services Authority said Cummings had failed to exercise enough care and attention in his corporate division while it pursued an aggressive expansion strategy.
But Mr Cummings, who is the only man to be sanctioned by the FSA over the HBOS collapse, branded the three-year FSA probe as "an Orwellian process by an organisation that acts as lawmaker, judge, jury, appeal court and executioner".
Tracey McDermott, the FSA's director of enforcement and financial crime, said: "Despite being aware of the weaknesses in his division and growing problems in the economy, Cummings presided over a culture of aggressive growth without the controls in place to manage the risks associated with that strategy.
"Instead of reacting to the worsening environment, he raised his targets as other banks pulled out of the same markets."
The sanction against Mr Cummings paves the way for a report by the FSA into the cause of the HBOS failure in 2008 when it required the taxpayer-funded bailout and was bought by fellow bank Lloyds.
Mr Cummings was accused by the FSA of presiding over a "culture of optimism" which affected the corporate division's judgment about debt.
The FSA said: "Under Cummings' direction, the division pursued an aggressive growth strategy, despite these known weaknesses in the control framework.
"This focus on growth peaked in 2007 and continued into 2008, despite Cummings being aware of concerns within HBOS about some of the markets in which the division operated and growing signs of problems in the economy. Rather than taking reasonable steps to mitigate potential risks, he directed his division to increase its market share as other lenders were pulling out of deals."
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