Peter Cummings, former HBOS banker.
Peter Cummings, former HBOS banker. (Handout)

One of the most controversial bankers of the credit crunch is to be fined £500,000 by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

Peter Cummings, the head of corporate lending at HBOS until its rescue by Lloyds TSB, is to be fined following a long-running investigation into his stewardship of the bank's vast balance sheet.

It ends a three-year probe into Cummings' role at the bank, where he was a director and chief executive of its corporate division, which pursued aggressive growth and has been blamed for dragging HBOS near to collapse.

He became renowned for promoting risky joint investments between HBOS and property developers and speculators.

One of  his protégés was Paul Kemsley of Rock Properties who built up a property portfolio of £1bn but went spectacularly bust in 2009 leaving HBOS with hundreds of millions in bad debts.

Cummings also counted Sir Philip Green, the Top Shop billionaire, and Mike Ashley, the Sports Direct tycoon, among his most important clients.

Lloyds Banking Group, which bought HBOS at the height of the crisis, would later write off almost £20bn of the division's £120bn loan book. In other words, the lending standards in HBOS Corporate's business were so poor that the bank barely recovered £5 for every £6 lent. Ultimately, those losses alone would more than account for the £11.5bn that the taxpayer pumped into HBOS in the original October 2008 bail-out.

Cummings's largesse did not stretch to Farepak, the Christmas savings club aimed at the low-paid.

A court recently heard how HBOS under Cummings's direction twice refused requests by Farepak directors to safeguard £4m of customers' money by placing it in a trust. The decision meant the cash was available to be repaid to HBOS rather than being returned to customers when the business went under in October 2006.  

Read the full FSA Judgment