Now, I have no idea if this story is actually true or whether it has any bearing on the current situation which has resulted in the RBSGs major high street bank accounts being broken but I repeat it here anyway. I just had to share.
Years ago I worked for Lloyd's Bank and as one of their Regional Trainers I used to spend a lot of time around Head Office types. You know the sort. They thought the sun went out when they sat down. One day in the dim past I was sitting with a group of them in the bar at our national training centre (it was dark outside, obviously) when one of them - an IT bod loosened up by half a shandy - proceeded to tell us a tale of cost cutting and management incompetence at the (then) NatWest IT centre.
Senior managers at NatWest were tasked with cost-cutting and decided to slim-down their IT centre by letting-go a few short-term contractors. One of the projects was considered by NatWest management to be finished (it wasn't) so the programming team of about half a dozen were presented with brown envelopes and told to clear their desks and leave immediately.
Having rounded up their personal belongings, the team ended up in the pub nearby to drown their sorrows. At first a bit maudlin, their conversation soon turned to their now defunct project. It was something to do with customer accounting and had been running live for a while as the last few bugs were uncovered.
"Hey" says one contractor "in the rush of being thrown out, did anyone remember to hand over the passwords to our project?"
"I still have mine right here" says one, pulling a small red notebook from his pocket.
After only a few nanoseconds thought they decided not to rush back to NatWest and hand them over. They offered them back at a price instead. The bank said they were not interested in blackmail and the new bit of the system worked anyway, didn't it?