Barclays' Antony Jenkins: We need socially useful banks


Antony Jenkins: "Banks lost sight of the customer"

Barclays chief executive Antony Jenkins has said banks must become "socially useful" if they are to rebuild trust.

"Banking does have a lot to do to rebuild trust and integrity and I'd also say that it's vital that that happens," he told the BBC.

Mr Jenkins took over from Bob Diamond, who resigned in the wake of the Libor rate-fixing scandal.

Mr Jenkins' comments came has he launched a scheme to help small companies looking to export.

"I do believe that Barclays has a significant job to rebuild trust - but I'm also confident that we can," Mr Jenkins said. "It goes back to what we do: if we serve customers and clients in a way that is socially useful, then we will rebuild that trust."

Barclays has launched a new programmes that provides free access to advice, workshops and tools, as well as discounts on international products and services as its research showed that 29% of small-and-medium-sized businesses see a positive impact within six months of expanding into international markets.

'Not naive'

Mr Jenkins has taken over at a difficult time for the banking group, which has seen its reputation severely dented. In June, Barclays was fined £290m by UK and US regulators for attempting to manipulate Libor, an interbank lending rate which affects mortgages and loans.

The entire financial services industry has come under scrutiny since the financial crisis in 2008.

The industry's reputation has been battered further by the mis-selling of payment protection insurance, and the mis-selling of specialist insurance - called interest rate swaps - to small businesses.

"You will see at Barclays we will make significant progress in the coming months at Barclays and that will start to rebuild trust," he said. "You need a vibrant banking system to have a vibrant economy. What's important is that people judge us by our actions.

"I'm on record as saying that the industry and to some extent Barclays did lose sight of the customer and it's our job to put the customer back at the centre of everything that we do.

"I'm also not naive about how long that will take - it will take time," he added.

Mr Jenkins used to run Barclays Retail and Business Banking and has been a member of the group's executive committee since 2009.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    Banks should be nationalised... but not as they have been.

    They should be run by committees of ordinary bank workers, the general public and ordinary bank customers..... not run by the same lot of casino capitalists that caused the mess in the first place.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    It's easy - banks need to become institutions of service and not of sales. All staff now are under such pressure to deliver and exceed ridiculous sales targets that if they are struggling, they are dealt with in ways that leave them humiliated and on micro-monitored performance plans. The only thing they can do is sell sell sell in whatever way they can, or fear for their job. It's just horrible

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    What the bank means by socially useful is different from what the customers think as socially useful.
    The usual spin when banks are caught lining their own pockets at the expense of everyone else. It will not wash. It would be far more honest and 'socially useful' if banks had to display a warning.

    Along the lines of "The products we sell may damage your wealth"

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    The problem is we have so many financially illiterate and gullible people who will borrow money without fully understanding the consequences. We need a return of the old-fashioned local bank manager who knew his customers and just wouldn't lend for trivial reasons and wouldn't give money to people who were likely to head into financial deep waters.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Banks could do a lot worse than follow the values that the rest of us recognise as normal. For example reward customers for their loyalty by raising interest rates the longer a savings account is opened instead of slyly slashing the rate and hoping the customer doesn't spot it. Charge for services by all means but at rates that bear a resemblance to actual costs - £30-£40 for a letter is barmy!


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