THE BOSS OF Barclay’s bank, who said earlier this year that the period of remorse for banks needed to be over, believes that financial institutions must accept responsibility for their wrongdoing during the financial crisis.
Bob Diamond, CEO of Barclay’s, made headlines in January when he told a UK parliamentary committee “there was a period of remorse and apology for banks…that period needs to be over”.
But speaking at BBC Radio 4′s Today Business Lecture, Diamond struck a more conciliatory tone in admitting that bankers are still viewed much the same way as they were at the height of the worldwide banking crisis.
He said that the industry needed to do more to show things had changed:
First, we have to build a better understanding of how businesses and banks work together to generate economic growth.
Second, we have to accept responsibility for what has gone wrong.
Finally, most importantly, we have to use the lessons learned to become better and more effective citizens.
Diamond also said that bankers “can be cuddly”:
I think we can be – you’re going to find this surprising – we can be cuddly. We want people to come into our branches.
We want to be seen that way, but we know we have a lot of work to do still.
Diamond, who has been praised for his work in ensuring that Barclay’s did not require a UK government bailout, also stated that the phrase “too big to fail” – a tag applied to banks who were rescued during the crisis – had to be taken out of the economic lexicon.
“If we really believe that banks could fail without creating unwanted systemic risk, we would feel better,” he said.