It's probable that few of us will have any clear idea just what the banks are being asked to do by the Independent Commission on Banking - so independent that it was set up by HM Treasury explains Morning Star Editor BIll Benfield

Just how effective are its recommendations likely to be in safeguarding poor old Joe - or Josephine - Public from having to bail out the banks in the event of them gambling their way into trouble again?
Well, the answer is that they are not likely to have very much effect at all, despite what capitalism's tame pundits are saying.
In the end, if any number of the great banking conglomerates get into trouble, they are still simply too big for capitalism to allow them to fail and any government committed to capitalism will still bail them out with the only resource they have - Mr and Ms Public's tax payments.
Having said that, what are the commission's recommendations?
First and foremost, the banks are being told to separate and ringfence their two largest functions, known generally as retail and wholesale banking - retail being the relatively straightforward job of accepting and taking care of individual accounts and moving our money in and out of them, while wholesale encompasses the riskier, more speculative exercises of investments in currencies futures and other derivatives - in other words, the sort of dodgy speculation that precipitated the crisis that we are still struggling in.
Second, the banks are being told to increase the reserves that they hold against sudden customer demand to 10 per cent - that's 3 per cent higher than the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has suggested for world banking standards, which has teed off the banks more than slightly.
It also comes back again with the hoary old chestnut of forcing Lloyds to sell off about 600 branches to create a new competitor bank in the marketplace.
All sounds very reasonable on the surface, doesn't it?
In fact, it's about as much use as a paper umbrella in a thunderstorm and seems to be designed to keep the status quo much as it is.
So why is it all so useless?
Well, let's look at the realities of the case.
Capitalism rejoices in a system known as "fractional reserve banking" in which deposits are loaned out to to borrowers and the bank trousers the resulting loan interest it extracts while paying a lower interest rate to depositors.
So, the more money the bank has to hold (the fractional reserve), the less it has available to lend out.
The less that is has to lend out, the higher the price it is able to extract for such loans - so it can, in fact, extract more in profit by lending less.
Not so good for any economy based on private capital borrowing, you might think.
And if the government tries to intervene, the bank simply points out that its services cost money and if it isn't able to raise its costs from interest rates, it will simply impose charges for its services on all private accounts.
So increasing the fractional reserve is likely to cost the average punter (our Mr and Ms Public).
It certainly won't cost the banks.
And is this ringfenced retail banking sector inherently safer than before? Afraid the answer to that is another negative.
A "run" on a bank - a rush to withdraw money from it if it's perceived to be in danger - is caused by public perception and the public isn't stupid.
If it sees the Bank of Bloggs wholesale arm struggling with a new crisis, our public certainly isn't going to leave its cash in the retail arm and trust in a theoretical firewall to force Bloggs retail to stand by and watch Bloggs wholesale going broke.
It's going to cop its cash and decamp to somewhere safer and whether you have a fractional reserve of 10 or even 20 per cent it won't guard against that sort of panic.
And that's just one illustration of why you can't firewall retail from wholesale banking. There are many other reasons.
We are told, for example, that company accounts can still be handled inside the retail firewall, but no-one seems to take into account the danger that any such firm may still have large amounts of money tied up in speculation on the markets, which imports the risk automatically, since if those outside-the-firewall investments go wrong, the inside-the-firewall debt will be dishonoured. Result misery.
What the commission is saying when it's all boiled down is that speculator Fred Bloggs, banker to the nobility and gentry, can gamble all he likes with the money in his right-hand trouser pocket, but he can't gamble with the cash in his left-hand pocket.
And if the bookie's enforcers come after him for payment on his failed bets, we are asked to believe that he will bravely suffer the damage to his kneecaps rather than put his hand in the wrong pocket.
That's nonsense and we all know it.