Does being a Christian make you a better banker? Former Bank of England employee John Ellis raised the possibility during a church discussion in London on the financial crisis.

The Treasurer of the United Reformed Church pointed to the relative stability of HSBC -- despite market speculation about its capital adequacy -- compared with the parlous state of some of its rivals.

"It is fairly safe to assert that HSBC is the high street bank that has been the most robust bank during the recent troubles. It seems to have ordered its affairs in a way that has allowed it to be least damaged by turmoil all around it," Ellis said.

"It is absolutely safe to assert that the chairman of HSBC is a committed Christian, indeed an Anglican priest, the Revd. Stephen Green. Do we regard that as a curious coincidence or do we think that having clear Christian values held in an institution like that is actually of significance?

Shares in RBS sank to 11.6p on Monday, their lowest for a quarter of a century, while Lloyds Banking Group lost a third of its value and Barclays saw its share price drop 10 percent despite another government lifeline.