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 34.

    Banks are laving a laugh! I am surprised they can even spell the work trust! Robbers the lot of them out for profit only and will not let rules and regulations get in the way of profits!

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    the UK also needs a socially useful opposition government but I doubt we will ever have anything of the like from the one we have in opposition now,they were inept and socially useless when in power so par for the course I suppose
    nomore boom and bust HUH

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    By socially useful does he mean stop using every means possible to screw the customer for all he has. Lets reduce charges for a start as they are far more expensive in UK than rest of Europe. Lets change the way overnight runs are done to make credits before debits so a customer does not go overdrawn for a few minutes and end up with a returned DD.

  • 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 30.

    A particular SPANISH bank has increased its mortgage rates recently for British mortgages - but on the instructions of the Spanish government the mortgage rates for SPANIARDS has not been raised. The British people need LEGAL protection from ALL corrupt banking institutions - foreign as well as British banks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    There can be no such thing as a socially responsible bank. They are nothing but Shylocks out for their pound of flesh. As long as they make their billions, they have no interest in anyone else.

  • 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!

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Local community banking that actually serves people and starts up business for that community.Rather than National and Globalized banking which seems to be the problem?

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    Here's a socially useful way of serving customers: write-off the deficit until the economy has recovered sufficiently to wipe it out. It's the least you can do for the protection the bail outs afforded your entire industry.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Certainly saying the right things but you have to reserve judgement to see them doing the right things. To be fair, he did acknowledge that himself.

    However, this world has made me very cynical, so you're going to have to show me something, not tell me something. Stating the obvious was just words, now lets see the reality.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    18. NW1837 - You still don't get it do you. This isn't about the few, admittedly irresponsible, people who overstretched themselves. It is about corporate greed, malpractice bordering on criminality, especially in the US subprime market, and the banksters who lied, and deliberately misled to gain a financial benefit. Have you just returned from holiday on Mars?

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Split your retail banking from you city boy gambling banking before the government forces you to. That sill show an ounce of sincerity rather than your hollow words.
    Its disgraceful that the only time banks stop their thieving corruption is when they are either regulated or legislated against. These people are the "slave trades"of our century :-(

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Socially Useful. I wonder what that means. I can think of things that are socially useful. Banks would not immediately be one that springs to mind.
    If he ever gives up the banking this lad could do well in politics. Socially useful.....interesting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    The banks have shown themselves to lack morals and act in criminal ways. When they pay for ALL their criminal acts then maybe we might start to listen.
    Maybe they could start by 'donating' 50% of their profits each year for the next ten years to help us out of this mess that they got us into to.
    What say you Mr Jenkins? Or is this just a bit too socially responsible for your greed to swallow.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    The UK needs banks that are staffed by decent people with high levels of morality and a set of positive values that enable banks to work more in favour of the economy than in the interests of the executives who manage the banks.Thus it is that in this greed driven,profit obsessed country the political classes with their vested interests are never going to provide the banks the UK needs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    We also need socially responsible people who borrow beyond their means to get the latest TV and car etc, yes the banks should not heave lent the money, but people can always say no...............

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    They could start being "Socially Useful" by providing good moral and ethical examples to others: by not issuing obscene bonuses for someone just doing their job, and not rewarding quite commonplace top executives with obscene salaries. In other words, Anthony Jenkinds, let's see you put your money where your mouth is on this. If you don't, its just another case of words are easy and stuff us all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    For a start.....
    Remove penalty charges for going overdrawn.
    Provide proper banking facilities to people coming out of bankruptcy
    Stop mis-selling products
    Keep all charges and interest rates clear and transparent
    that will gain a little public trust

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Socially responsible? As opposed to what, Parasite, greedy, econonmy destroying, wealth stealing institutes?


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