David Parkin considers Yorkshire Bank’s future and hears the wisdom of Barry from EastEnders

YORKSHIRE Bank’s Australian owner has suggested it could be considering a stock market flotation of its UK banking operations.

Strewth, do me a favour and throw another banger on the barbie mate and toss me a tinny.

National Australia Bank boss Cameron Clyne was briefing Australian journalists on the future of its Yorkshire and Clydesdale banks, but he might as well have been chatting to a sheep shearer at a backyard barbecue.

If NAB wants to float off its UK banks -which clearly now has no love or enthusiasm for – then it needs to get in the queue stretching from the London Stock Exchange right down Lombard Street in the City of London.

Suddenly everyone is talking about floating banking businesses. There is only one problem with that: no one wants to buy them.

Britain’s economic confidence is still fragile. Confidence in the banking sector is shaky at best.

The recent issues with The Cooperative Bank haven’t helped and it’s aborted acquistion of a chunk of the Lloyds Banking Group has left that looking for a buyer while the regulator also wants part of the Royal Bank of Scotland corporate banking operation in new ownership too.

Both are considering flotations while Chancellor George Osborne said this week that he will move ahead with plans to privatise the publicly held shares in firstly Lloyds and then RBS.

So if you are a potential investor in banks, then you have plenty to choose from.

Where will Yorkshire and Clydesdale rank?

Not particularly highly, is my guess.

But NAB has made it pretty clear it wants shot of its troublesome UK arm and Clyne described its as “clearly a problem asset” back in March.

His sentiment is unlikely to have warmed much since then and so how NAB sorts this problem will be interesting.

But my guess is we are all unlikely to get the chance to subscribe to shares in a floated Yorkshire Bank, despite the fact that that brand still has some strength and life in it, should it eventually find an owner that is prepared to invest and build it.

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LAST Friday saw me heading to the Harrogate Business Lunch, for the first time in years.

I was a guest of the guys at growing accountants BHP and a little research ahead of the lunch revealed that it attracts several hundred business people and heavyweight speakers including Ken Livingstone and Jeffrey Archer.

So who was the guest speaker last week?

Barry from EastEnders.

Yes, that’s right, the actor Shaun Williamson who has won fame since his decade-long stint in the soap with appearances, as Barry from EastEnders, in Ricky Gervais comedy Extras. You might have seen it. His agent, desperate to get him a job, gets him to pitch his broad acting skills to a potential employer.

“Janine, don’t leave me. Pat, you’re standing on me foot,” says the lugubrious actor.

Anyway, our speaker, fortunately didn’t do a serious speech, more a random collection of old jokes.

He mentioned Antiques Roadshow, or, he said, as it is known in South Wales: Tomorrow’s World.

It looked like most of the insolvency community from Leeds was at the lunch.

One tip. If you are running a company and considering administration, don’t do it past noon on a Friday, your calls may not get answered.

Have a good weekend.