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CARE HOME MOGUL GETS BOOST FROM REALITY TV

A REALITY television appearance is usually more of a kiss of death than a gateway of opportunity, but the case of Balhousie Care Group chairman Tony Banks has proved an exception to the rule.

Banks became a household name last year when he travelled to Liverpool on Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire programme and subsequently had to be evacuated from the Anfield estate after he and the camera crew were attacked by local yobs with bricks and firebombs.

But he tells me that not only has he already been back to the estate to see the impact of his £126,000 donation to various individuals and charities in the area, he’s also intent upon using the experience to do more for those less fortunate than himself.

Now running a £60m business, Banks was formerly a paratrooper in the Falklands war, and his next stop on the charity circuit will be a return to the battlesites of the islands to raise the profile of veterans organisation Combat Stress. After that, it’s a mission to climb Everest next year.

“I’m not easily intimidated and I was in Liverpool to complete a task and get things done,” he told The Capitalist. “And I was determined to get it done come hell or high water. The violence only made me more determined to carry on in my efforts to improve the situation for the people who live there.”

Fighting talk indeed.

COOL CUSTOMERS
A flurry of snow and it appears most of the business community have enthusiastically embraced a whole new dress code for the City. A whole variety of fancy footwear was out in force yesterday, from furry boots and hiking gear to good old wellies in every colour under the sun (including one brave chap who had managed to locate a natty red spotty pair).

So although the cold snap has been disastrous for those trying to commute in from the sticks, at least it’s been good news for one area of the economy – posh welly firm Hunter says the wintry weather has boosted its recent sales no end.

“It’s very satisfying to see City men and women tackling the tricky conditions in our boots,” Hunter managing director Peter Taylor tells me, smugly.

TURNUP FOR THE BOOKS
Something of a coup yesterday for little-known financial publisher The Capital Organisation, which has snapped up the online business of bankrupt book chain Borders, Books etc, to add to its stable.

Borders, of course, stopped trading on Christmas Eve, ostensibly putting an end to a near-40 year history until Capital spotted an opportunity to play on consumers’ notorious nostalgia for this kind of untimely demise. Nicely played – if the strategy is good enough for Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, who bought up the Woolworths online brand after everyone’s favourite odds and ends store went bust last year, its probably a pretty safe bet.

SEEING RED TAPE
After millions of disgruntled German bank customers were left financially high and dry by credit card chips failing to work in 2010 because the date of the new decade did not register, a handy solution appears courtesy of one enterprising Frankfurt small business owner – covering the chip with sticky tape so the swipe strip can be used instead.

“That way we have to spend a few euros on sticky tape but we don’t have hassle with the customers,” he says.