Cantona kicks own goal with bank-run plan, financiers say
Bankers in Europe are bracing themselves for a bank-run protest instigated by former French soccer star Eric Cantona.
Protesters are urged to withdraw their bank deposits on Tuesday to help collapse the financial system.
Mr Cantona first made the suggestion in October during a video interview in which he said street protesters would be more effective if a large number of people to withdrew their money at the same time.
"The system is built on the banks. So if you bring those down, the whole system collapses," he says.
The idea has spread sufficiently for bankers and politicians to warned against the plan, saying it would be counter-productive.
France’s finance minister, Christine Lagarde, says Mr Cantona, who used to play for Manchester United, is better off sticking to football than dabbling in finance.
"Cantona is a great footballer, but I'm not sure we need to pay heed to all his suggestions. Everyone has their areas of competence.
"There are those who play football magnificently and I would not dare to try. I think it's best for everyone to stick to their own speciality."
BNP Paribas CEO Baudoin Prot has called the protest “totally irresponsible," adding it was "completely against anything that could assure the functioning of the economy.”
"What Eric Cantona said, I had been thinking for a while," she says. .
The instigators want to send a message to politicians that they "can't meet both the interests of financial markets and those of its citizens."
The hope is the system will collapse in favour of a new "citizen's bank" that would "put our money away from speculative fever, free of all financial bubbles designed to burst one day, free of operations that transform our loans & assets and use our debt to buy other assets.
"We want banks that lend only the wealth they have. Banks that support projects that benefit citizens rather than the 'market.’”
While some experts says the effects of tens of thousands queuing to withdraw their money says this could trigger an damaging bank run, others say the risks are small.
Marc Touati, deputy head of Global Equities, says, "Twenty thousand people is peanuts compared with the number of bank accounts open in France. So the effect will by nil." It will take "several million people" to do "critical" damage, he says.