1. RBS & others: World Financial Crisis (2008)
What happened? The world’s largest banks lobbied the world’s governments to deregulate their industry, which allowed them to behave in a manner that economists tend to agree was reckless and which would have caused the collapse of the entire financial system and a global depression had they not been bailed out by their governments.
What did the banks do about it? In the UK, the banks Abbey, Barclays plc, Clydesdale Bank, HBOS, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, Nationwide Building Society, RBS and Standard Chartered Bank took a massive bailout from the government to the tune of £850 billion. This resulted in the UK government having to cut back on public spending while the banks implemented tight restrictions in lending money to individuals and businesses, ultimately leading to a UK growth either stagnating or falling into recession for the last 5 years with no noticeable changes to banking regulation.
Who came out on top in the end? Possibly not the banks’ shareholders, but definitely certain individuals within the banking sector who became very rich.