But what can the government do to rectify the situation? As the FT's Kiran Stacey pointed out in a snappy post last week, their recent Green Paper on the matter was a little uncertain. Unlike, say, the police and benefits reform consultation papers, it leaves you with no clear sense of where its authors might like to head. The main reason for this, I suspect, is that there are no easy levers for manipulating the balance between bonuses, liquidity, lending and everything else. I mean, take George Osborne's suggestion that the banks might face lending targets: this has already been tried with RBS and Lloyds, with negligible success.
This leaves Osborne armed with little more than rhetoric at the moment – his interview is littered with phrases like "we will not tolerate" and "they have an … obligation". But with the banks starting to make hefty profits again, the Chancellor will soon face public, as well as economic, demand for action. Whether this means a firmer hand in managing the state-owned banks or, more likely, a range of industry-wide policies in a few months time, we shall see. But, in the end, much of the solution rests with the banks: when they feel like lending again, then will.