Gap-fill exercise

Fill in all the gaps, then press "Check" to check your answers. Use the "Hint" button to get a free letter if an answer is giving you trouble. You can also click on the "[?]" button to get a clue. Note that you will lose points if you ask for hints or clues!
My name is Fred Bowman and I’m a trainee in the legal department of a large bank in central London. Working in a bank is quite worrying at the moment, as all of the banks are in financial trouble. In fact, things are so bad that a lot of my colleagues here in London are being made . That’s what happens when a business doesn’t need all of its employees any more - people lose their jobs. Things are exactly the same in the big city law firms. Lawyers are getting laid off.

As for the customers of the bank, our account holders, they are having a difficult time too. People who’ve saved money are not making much of a profit on their sayings because the interest is so low at the moment. A lot of older people have saved money for years so that they’ll be financially comfortable when they from work. In the U.K. this is usually at the age of 65. These people are now very worried as their sayings are giving them a return of just 1%.

However, it’s businesses that want, to borrow money that are having the most difficult time. It’s almost impossible to get credit. The owners of small businesses, for example, are approaching the bank in huge numbers to request an increase in their limit. This is a facility that the bank gives to an account holder allowing him or her to draw more money out of a bank account than he or she has in it, creating a negative balance The account holder is permitted to create this debt to the bank for a limited period of time. At the moment, the bank is refusing to allow businesses to do this and many are closing as a result traders in particular are struggling to survive at the moment, which is terrible, because their personal are at risk if the business has debts that it can’t pay. These people don’t have the advantage of limited liability that a limited company has. It’s much the same story for bigger businesses that would like to a loan. The bank is being extremely cautious with its money and most loan applications are being refused.

Businesses that already owe money to the bank are really suffering. A lot of them have fallen into because they haven’t been able to make their repayments on time. The bank usually demands repayment of a loan in equal monthly over a set period of time. When a business misses one or two payments the bank first of all writes to them and tries to arrange a meeting to discuss the problem. Many don’t bother to respond, usually because they’re afraid of what the bank will do. Unfortunately, interest is constantly on the unpaid amount so the debt grows bigger day by day.

In the legal department our job is to recover money for the bank, which means to get back as much as we can. This often leads to bankruptcy for individual account holders or to businesses going into .