In this session of the Banking Standards Commission, Mervyn King says (18.30 onwards):
“I was surprised at the degree of access of bank executives to people at the very top. And it was certainly easier access to people at the top than the regulators had. I remember before 2007 that the only time there was a speech about regulation from the prime minister was when there was an attack on the FSA for over-regulation. That was the climate in which regulators were operating then. It was extraordinarily difficult. They knew that if they were tough on a bank, the chief executive would go straight to No 10 or No 11 (residences of the British prime minister and finance minister) and say this is an attack on the UK's most successful industry, even when it was a perfectly reasonable application of the regulations.Times have changed clearly since then. But the access probably hasn’t. . . . “.
King also makes the point in this hearing that prior to 2007, he got the impression that large commercial banks EXPECTED the Bank of England to bail them out if they got into trouble.