The sullen tone of HSBC Malta’s CEO in his speech of last January may have been better informed than any of us were.

Head office might be reversing the bank’s 20 year growth drive and Malta might very well be for the chop. This Bloomberg report specifically mentions Malta as a candidate for HSBC’s global retrenchment.

Clearly this is not entirely within the government’s control and could never have been. Even if everything was rosy here, no one could guarantee Malta drops out of the strategy and the whims of the London boardroom.

The other side to that argument is that Malta is not yet offering HSBC any irresistible reason to stay here. The prime minister’s ‘envy of the world’ argument is clearly not getting to the bank’s Group CEO’s office.

Let’s see how this plays out. Though I do have an inkling what the hand-wringers in Castille might be thinking. How about nationalising the bank? Think of all the jobs for the boys, all the accommodating loans to the friends, all the money flowing without the annoying hindrances of a bank owner in perpetual probation, like HSBC is.