Barclays CEO: Rebuilding Public Trust May Take 10 Years

Barclays’ chief executive officer (CEO), Antony Jenkins, said that the bank’s involvement in interest rate manipulation and the controversial selling of personal protection insurance (PPI) has undermined public confidence, which could take as long as a decade to rebuild.

“It is about what you do, not what you say,” Jenkins said on a UK radio show. “Until people start to perceive the change, Barclays will not begin rebuilding that trust.

“Trust is a very easy thing to lose, and a very hard thing to win back. In my view it will takes several years – probably five to 10 – to rebuild trust. I can only be responsible for Barclays but I’m hoping in what we do at Barclays we can also rebuild trust in banking.”

Jenkins, the bank’s former consumer banking head, was promoted to CEO in August 2012 in the aftermath of the London interbank offered rate (Libor) rigging scandal, which cost Barclays £290m in fines and led to the departure of three senior executives, including the bank’s former CEO, Bob Diamond.

Last February the new CEO overhauled the bank’s structure and closed businesses, including a profitable operation that helped wealthy individuals and businesses reduce their tax bill. “Historically, Barclays was quite active in tax avoidance,” said Jenkins. “That is something we have stopped doing.”

This year has also seen Barclays increase provisions against PPI mis-selling claims to £4bn. Last month, six currency traders were suspended as regulators investigate the manipulation of the US$5.3 trillion a day foreign exchange (FX) market.

The bank is also being investigated by regulators over whether it properly disclosed £322m of payments to Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund as part of a £7bn fundraising drive during the 2008 financial crisis, a move that helped it avoid a government bailout. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) warned in September that it may fine the bank £50m. Barclays continues to contest the findings.

“It’s desperately disappointing to still have these issues being uncovered,” Jenkins said. “We are undoing 30 years of culture and that will take time. Legacy issues will be with us for a number of years.”

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