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Page last updated at 06:24 GMT, Saturday, 20 September 2008 07:24 UK
Is it a wonderful life?

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It's A Wonderful Life

It's a Wonderful Life - Courtesy of Universal Pictures (UK) - Out November 10th on DVD

Russell Taylor, one of the writers of Alex, the cartoon of city life which runs in the Daily Telegraph's business section, has written his own version of James Stewart's speech from It's A Wonderful Life.

It captures just how Alex Masterley - the caddish hero of the comic strip - would describe the events of the past week.


So, you want to withdraw the money you deposited with us? Yes, well, I'm afraid we can't give you back your money because we don't have it.

You see, what happened is that we lent the money you gave us to Joe and the Kennedys and Mrs Maklin to buy houses with, and then we lent them some more money to buy a second property on a buy-to-let basis and a third rental property too and then we lent them some more money against the value of all the various properties that we'd lent them the money to buy, so they could go on a nice holiday.

In fact the money you'd deposited with us wasn't enough for all the money we'd encouraged them to borrow, so we packaged up their mortgages and sold them on to some other people so that we'd have more money to lend more people to buy more houses.

Are you with me?

The problem is that the property market has crashed so that Joe and the Kennedys and Mrs Maklin can't repay the mortgages on their houses, which means that everyone who bought those bonds is stuffed.

Which unfortunately includes us, as we also bought mortgage-backed bonds off other banks thinking we could sell them on to someone else for more money.

So we no longer have any money and we're now perceived as a bad risk in the wholesale money markets, so none of the other banks will lend us any money, which they haven't got in any case, because no one will lend them any money because everyone's too paranoid about everyone else being a bad risk.

So I'm afraid we're going into liquidation, but that nice Mr Potter in town will give you 12 cents in the dollar for your money which I think you'll agree is a pretty good return on a triple-A rated bond these days.

But there is some good news.

We won't be cluttering up your hallway with all that junk mail offering cheap mortgages and low-interest credit cards like we used to, so at least we'll be doing our bit for the environment, which I'm sure you'll agree is the most important thing.




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