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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  • Comment number 314.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 313.

    Banks are allowed to create money.

    Our democratically elected government signed this off.

    Doesn't matter who you vote for, the financial services industry calls the shots. It's a FINANCE-OCRACY,

    To paraphrase a Rothschild "I don't care who is in power, as long as they give me a license to invent money I will always win".

    Hence the widening gap between the haves and the have nots.

  • rate this

    Comment number 312.

    "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.".

    Still selling junk. No change at all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 311.

    We need more than just banks that are "socially useful" - we need banks that actually exercise a wider social function. If the past several years have shown anything, it's that we can't continue having banks that give primacy to mindless greed and individual enrichment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 310.

    Renationalise the post office bank

    Let the other banks do their thing

    Choice is something sadly lacking in modern Britain, unless of course you are wealthy

  • rate this

    Comment number 309.


    I agree with teaching financial awareness, it's shocking how many people have no idea about how finance works and the use/misuse of credit, for example.

    I know it might not be the most interesting or engaging subject but it's extremely important, particularly in the economic situation we find ourselves in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 308.

    Wonder when Mr Jenkins will be forced to pay compensation for mis-selling the "socially useful" products we will soon, no doubt, see...

  • rate this

    Comment number 307.

    Where's the Diamond geezer got to?


    hmmm, a word game of oxymorons


  • rate this

    Comment number 306.

    Can financial awareness not be taught to a greater extent in schools? Then more of the population would understand the extent to which banks abuse their position. As for 'keeping banks on their toes' by switching, this is pointless, they are all the same. To waste the effort and move to another organisation that still treats you with contempt is a waste of time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 305.

    When people were paid enough to allow them to live AND save a bit, they put the money in banks (or Building Societies) who then lent the money out in the form of loans.

    All worked very nicely.

    Now, people are struggling and cannot afford to save - the banks have to make profits somehow.

    Profit is to blame on both sides, driving wages down while keeping banks profitable.

    Fix the system, first!

  • rate this

    Comment number 304.

    Where you read 'customers' insert 'mugs'; where you read 'trust' insert 'profits'. They have all the power, too much sway over the money supply and a grip on economic growth. The retail needs separating from the casino. They are responsible for a historic mess. And a moral collapse. The government should ensure a group of banks run like utilities. This government has been too soft so far.

  • rate this

    Comment number 303.

    To hell with "socially useful" and other spin-generated claptrap.

    Please may we simply have a return to honest banks that serve the needs of the customer, without either being "on commission" to sell us rubbish, or offering only "one size fits nobody" off-the-shelf packages.

    "Personal" banking in almost every institution is at best a joke, and at worst a total rip-off.

  • rate this

    Comment number 302.

    The pathetic communists are out in force again on here! Lets get some facts straight first boys and girls:

    1. The global economy was ruined by George W Bush, Blair & Brown and a few other skivvy governments in their collective.
    2. The bankers were (and still are) by far better pals with these crooks.

    So please stop with the uninformed, ridiculous conspiracy theories you commies dream up as fact!

  • rate this

    Comment number 301.

    People say 'vote with your feet', but banks seem to me rather like the political parties they manipulate - all much of a muchness and all corrupt. What choice is there?

  • rate this

    Comment number 300.

    Rhyming Slang, nuff said

  • rate this

    Comment number 299.

    If people are so fed up with the UK high street banks, why don't they just shut their accounts and move their savings and loans to somewhere like National Savings, one of the remaining mutuals, or one of the "new age" banks like Metro Bank or Handelsbanken?

  • rate this

    Comment number 298.

    Banks like Barclays are predators - make sure they don't eat you!

  • rate this

    Comment number 297.

    I do not use a bank any more, moved my little bit of money elsewhere. The bankers have constantly treated us with the up most contempt so I for one don't care what they try to do now!

  • rate this

    Comment number 296.

    Capitalism in its current form is essentially evil. In what way can evil be socially useful?

  • rate this

    Comment number 295.

    293.Stuart Wilson

    I agree Stuart , Sir Humphrey is very wise. There are no prospects on the horizon who have the character to do what is required and be electable by popular vote.

    The banks do not want the retail business split off, a solid argument in favour of doing just that.


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