Barclays' Antony Jenkins: We need socially useful banks

  • 4 October 2012
  • From the section Business
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Media captionAntony 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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