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 54.

    If a chang is to be maed then a diffrent minset will be required. Acepting that it takes time to build a bisenes and that long tearm consistant pprofits are better than quick one off proffits would be a start. Further we all live in one country so investment should benifit the greatest number of people .

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    16. brynmill
    Remove penalty charges for going overdrawn.
    Overdraft charges are in the terms and conditions that banks provide us with, which we agree to when we open accounts.

    The charges are a penalty clause in the contract between us & the banks.You know the rules, yet you complain at the penalty for breaking them.
    Don't like being charged, dont go overdrawn.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    if they mean lending to people who cannot really afford to borrow then that is going to start a bad cycle, bankruptcy is at an all time high and the wrong people are able to borrow to much, so what is socially responsible? stop lending for property to those who cannot really afford it and then maybe prices will fall to a level people can borrow at responsibly,

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    Banks are fine its the people who can't manage their own finances that is the real issue here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    The problems run deeper than the banks. The entire debt based system is unsustainable as it requires infinite expansion. There is always more debt in the system than there is 'money' to service the debt. The explosion of credit on the scale we take for granted is a fairly recent development... an experiment if you will. Economic expansion has happened on the back a credit bubble. All bubbles pop.

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.


    What Britain needs is to Nationalize the banks. A Bank Of Britain to help small business.


  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    How my heart sings with joy!

    If only I thought he meant it.

  • 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 46.

    We had those sort of banks. They were called "Building Societies" before they were sold down the river by greedy directors offering the bribe of free shares.

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    Big banks are just out to make profits for shareholders and bonuses for their senior staff at the expense of the 'normal folk'. The smaller you are they bigger they screw you. Suppose Mr Jenkins will still accept his 'rewards' without blinking.

  • 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 43.

    What is a top bankers definition of socially useful?

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    The most socially useful thing banks can do right now - write off all debt owed to them and fold. The massive disappearance of debt will free up funds for actual economic activity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    as long as banks are allowed to pay based on commision we can be certain the banks will seel what makes the seller the biggest bonus not what the customer requires banks and politicans know this but certainly wont do anythuing to ensure customers are put first its all profits before service what a typical tory capatlistic way

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    His salary instantly eliminates any credibility. His organization is, by definition, socially poisonous if it pays the CEO hundreds of times the average salary. The bailed-out banks should be nationalized and the CEO jobs advertised at £250k per year. Governments are terrified that what bankers say is true (i.e. you wouldn't get someone up to the job for that). They're bluffing us all. Call them.

  • 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 38.

    Once bitten, twice shy...

    Actions speak louder than words...

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    Politicians and bankers said a lot of stuff yesterday, say a lot of stuff today and will say a lot of stuff tomorrow. All either have done, are doing and will continue to do is find more ways to swindle our money and our children's futures.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    How about adding all of your bonuses together and then dividing them out between your customers? Sounds social to me!

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    The FIAT currency experiment over the last 40 years has failed. We need to end fractioanl reserve banking and FIAT currency; or this cycle will keep repeating. Banks and Government both; are corrupt and unethical and self serving. We the people MUST educate ourselves in how these systems work; otherwise we will continue to be enslaved to a society built upon debt and corrupt 'money creation'.


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