Bankers guilty of reckless misconduct could face jail under new proposals

London's financial hub Photo: PA Wire

No one can accuse them of not having done their homework.

The Banking Commission has heard hours and hours of evidence from dozens of witnesses and has produced more than six hundred pages of ideas and recommendations.

But five years after the financial crisis there have already been plenty of reports, plenty of debates, and plenty of angst too about our banking industry.

What is left to say? Well on RBS, the most talked about problem of late as we reported, the commission stops well short of splitting up the bank and selling it off quickly.

Royal Bank of Scotland's future is discussed in the report by the Commission on Banking Standards. Credit: PA Wire

For my money what stands out are proposals that go further than any other corrective regime so far.

The commission says that senior bankers at state-owned banks who are guilty of reckless actions should go to jail.

And that bonuses, so often the source of public fury and political controversy, should be held back for up to a decade while the long term consequences of bank decisions become clear.

It is not expected that these rules could be applied retrospectively - the commission does not have the power to put Fred Goodwin or anyone else in jail.

Former chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland Fred Goodwin Credit: Reuters

But these proposals, and many others contained in the mammoth report, do try to perhaps finally, draw a line between the past mistakes that nearly brought the economy to its knees and the future.

There are many arguments to be had now about how viable any of the proposals are.

Does the report really look hard enough at the role of politicians in all of this?

It is easy to forget now, but many politicians were cheering on as Fred Goodwin built the RBS empire ever bigger before it crashed to earth.

And what about the regulator and the Bank of England? One former bank board member said to me "politicians roles have been totally forgotten...the old boys' network has closed ranks".

The Government's response will be critical as to whether any of the proposals end up in law.

It is technically possible to do swiftly, as the Banking Bill is going through Parliament at the moment.

And we will get early indications of how ministers may act when George Osborne speaks at the Mansion House tonight.