Barclays: 'Five to 10 years to be trusted again'

Barclays sign

The past year was one in which big banks hoped that the process of regaining the trust of the country might begin, but it did not really turn out that way.

The sins of the past - their bad behaviour in the boom years and beyond - came back to haunt them, in the form of a series of damaging revelations.

In their investment banking operations, there were more fines relating to the manipulation of interest-rate benchmarks, Libor and Euribor.

There are official probes into whether they have rigged other benchmarks, in foreign exchange trading and in so-called swap rates for derivatives (the benchmark price for complicated deals worth trillions of dollars).

What some have found particularly shocking is the allegation that the rigging of some of these markets - in foreign exchange at Barclays for example - may have been taking place as late as last summer, long after the top brass of banks said very publicly that such behaviour was unacceptable.

Jenkins on trust

But it is not just investment banking that has been tainted.

The cost of paying compensation to victims of mis-selling of PPI credit insurance continued to soar, and the bill for wrongly selling interest-rate swaps to small businesses also rose.

The retail bank, Co-op Bank, almost collapsed - and its reputation for being ethical was damaged by disclosures of the alleged drug-taking of its erstwhile chairman.

Lloyds received a huge fine for mis-selling investment products to customers long after the 2008 crash.

RBS was accused by an entrepreneur, Lawrence Tomlinson, of dealing with vulnerable smaller businesses in a brutal way.

And RBS joined HSBC and Standard Chartered as a bank spanked by US authorities for facilitating sanctions busting.

Or to sum this up, a picture was painted of an industry whose instincts is to bend or break the rules, when there's money to be made and no-one's looking.

Every one of the banks would say "that was then" - and that they've learned their lessons and are cleaning up their acts. But they are braced for more fines and damaging disclosures over the coming 12 months and beyond.

So how long will it be till we trust the banks again?

Well the chief executive of one of the biggest, Antony Jenkins of Barclays, says it will take between five and 10 years to rebuild people's trust in his bank - and that he will very publicly measure whether Barclays is succeeding in winning back public confidence.

Jenkins made this disclosure to students at Brooke House Sixth Form College in East London, at an event organised by the charity Speakers for Schools.

I should declare an interest here, in that Speakers for Schools is a charity I set up, which organises free talks in state schools by top people.

In his chat with the students, to be broadcast in a special edition of the Today Programme this morning for which Jenkins is a guest editor, the Barclays chief executive said he was setting his bank a target of being more trusted than not by 2018.

It is one of eight commitments Jenkins will make to staff, customers, shareholders and what he calls society in a few months.

Mr Jenkins said that the bank would measure and monitor progress in a systematic way.

Right now, Barclays - according to its own research - is more mistrusted than trusted, according to Mr Jenkins.

Or to put it another way, on a trust scale of one to 10, its score is less than five (which is probably not a great surprise to you).

Jenkins's target is for Barclays to be trusted to the tune of 6.5 out of 10 by 2018.

That may not seem a particularly high mountain to climb, but it may well turn out to be more challenging than Everest, given that litigation and complaints against the banks show no sign of diminishing.

Robert Peston Article written by Robert Peston Robert Peston Economics editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 340.

    This "series of damaging revelations", of Britons against Britain & of Britain against the world, likely reflects 'financial conduct' around the world, with the knowledge or suspicion of many more of the powerful - in banking & politics & journalism - than ever will be 'held to account' for their underlings. Costs in declaring UK democracy would be minor against benefits of reassurance & example.

  • rate this

    Comment number 339.

    plotinus @338
    "The real issues are still not being debated"

    They know what 'hazard' is. But the other word?

    No 'conflicts of interest', ever? Or just long forgotten?

    Thanks to John Fortune and John Bird.

  • rate this

    Comment number 338.

    @335 coplani
    they took the opportunity
    Many now have joined the QE party and backed the rising market.
    It hasn't paid to be counter-intuitive and most have given up betting against the FED.
    However there is nothing surer than that the party will end and with it will come a wailing and a gnashing of teeth.
    The real issues are still not being debated.

  • rate this

    Comment number 337.

    #335. coplani
    "They are only human....Given the opportunity to make loads of money, they will take it...who wouldn't."

    Are you making the case for mass immigration from East Europe?

    Or filthy rich money grabbing bankers from elsewhere?

  • rate this

    Comment number 336.

    @334 All for All
    I find that examining the underlying issues is much more interesting and rewarding.
    What good comes of it?
    I think that dialogue and discussion results in a more complete formulation of ideas and an opening of ones mind to new approaches.
    As well as that it keeps the grey cells active.
    The same God watches over the same world?
    Yes were are all human, all in the same boat.

  • rate this

    Comment number 335.

    They are only human....Given the opportunity to make loads of money, they will take it...who wouldn't.
    Q.E. and bail outs have only perpetuated this...and perhaps prevented a depression..
    So the party continues...for some.
    All the while the disparity between the haves and have nots, increases.
    Meanwhile labour costs are being driven down, so excesses are very apparent.

    The pins are winning.

  • rate this

    Comment number 334.

    plotinus @330
    "debating the issues"

    The headline and the underlying, and the intervening!

    What good might come of the philosophico-rhetorical and the theologico-heretical and the statistical-exchange, who can tell? Happy to participate of it might help. The same 'God' watches over the same world, and would wish us well, let us hope!

  • rate this

    Comment number 333.

    roger @331
    comments same
    debate (going) nowhere

    Boring no more than plumbing, brain-surgery, treaty-negotiation, if 24/24, 7/7

    We all hope to be of help: a parallel in care for the mentally disturbed, challenge in many dimensions (social stress, biochemistry, understanding of self & society)

    To 'converse with insanity' IS specially 'wearing'

    Happy early (game-pie) retirement!

  • rate this

    Comment number 332.

    @329 Dr Bob Matthews
    What I would like to see would be a proper accounting for the Qatari "investment" which kept the bank afloat during the financial crisis
    You will be aware that it was recently exposed that a quite separate transaction between another Qatari connection & an Icelandic bank resulted in litigation which showed that the Icelandic bank had lent the Qatari's the money to "invest"

  • rate this

    Comment number 331.


    It is not a debate, just a repetition of the, probably, hundreds of HYS's on the same subject that have gone on for years. The comments remain the same and philosophic "debate", as always, gets us nowhere.

    It is boring, pointless and I am off to cook dinner. Game stew with baked cabbage. Now that IS interesting, well tasty anyway.

  • rate this

    Comment number 330.

    @326 Dr Bob Matthews
    There are certainly very real unresolved issues which the public are very well aware of and which the increasing levels of complaints against banks bear witness to.
    @328 All for All
    I value our exchanges in debating the issues
    Why would someone would want to cover up the wrongdoing?
    Certainly Robert sees it as his journalistic duty to give it the oxygen of publicity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 329.

    plotinus Agreed Perhaps they could construct a common website.

    "Leeches are" Where they should be forced to publish the amount of QE they received and how it was used, the amount of bailout from the taxpayers and how it was used, each executives salary and bonus and how it was arrived at. How many executives are facing personal investigation for questionable behaviour etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 328.

    roger48 @324
    "hang em jail em"
    Or liberate all concerned?

    What harm, what hope in philosophy, framing allowed by humanity?

    As long as philosophy and literature might be thought refuges for indecision on such as fascism & democracy - blurring distinction between unequal servitude and equal partnership - so long we 'should' debate, grateful for BBC HYS and 'plotinus' on such as Barclays

  • rate this

    Comment number 327.


    Yes, no, yes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 326.

    The man is delusional if he thinks it will take between 5 to 10 years for banks to be trusted again. Until those responsible for the corrupt dealings, dishonesty, theft and complete disdain for their customers and the taxpayers who bailed them out, are charged and face the courts and justice, then hell will freeze over first!

  • rate this

    Comment number 325.

    @323 All for All
    roasting in mock expiation
    @324 roger48
    hang em jail em comments
    Are the public bored of the constant revelations of improprieties which have been going on in our banks? Do they care that they have been ripped off not once but several times.
    Or is our roasting akin to those celebrity Dean Martin roasts - just for laughs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 324.

    Please BBC will you close this dreary HYS which now seems to be inhabited by two posters, neither of whom make a whole lot of sense. I feel that even the most hardened of bank bashers may be getting bored with the weekly (or even daily) repeats of the same hang em jail em comments that seem to pervade the site.

  • rate this

    Comment number 323.

    plotinus @322
    "roasted daily"
    To bring down
    And build up?

    Plenty have learned to 'walk the coals', plenty left to take a small share of our small attention, no more than required for - and tolerable by - 'the daily headline' battle, safely then laundered through 'the other pages', their minor celebrity serving to frame 'the adverts', their 'roasting' our affordable sacrifice in mock expiation

  • rate this

    Comment number 322.

    @321 All for All
    what pressure (to change name)
    Perhaps the pressure that Augustine talked of when he referred to being, "roasted daily in the oven of men's tongues" (Confessions)

  • rate this

    Comment number 321.

    plotinus @320
    What pressure?
    Competition against similar

    However fast switching fiasco, same bottom-line, for banks & water & even health: profit

    'More ethical' Co-op damaged, 'Bank with best, most ruthless'? Which way would take-over go? Everywhere, whether by selection or training, some 'characters' misplaced: but need of all is for equal partnership, not just re-brand of 'approach'


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