The Great Banking Lie

by Ted Bauman
The Sovereign Investor

Neither one of them could believe their eyes.

I sat in a comfortable armchair in the office of the newly appointed deputy minister of finance of a large African country. He sat across from me on a silk-upholstered divan. Next to him was a consultant seconded to the government by one of the country’s largest banks. He could barely contain his contempt.

I certainly didn’t look like the managing director of a financial company. My faded jeans had holes at the knees. I was wearing a T-shirt stained with the ochre-colored soil from the building site. My work boots were caked with the stuff.

“I think you’ll find that this is in everyone’s best interests, including your clients,” said the banker. “Members,” I corrected him. “We aren’t a bank.” Icy stare.

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