Banks: ‘dishonest’, ‘incompetent’

July 04, 2012, 2:32 PM GMT+0

82% Brits say banks not improved; 60% don't trust high street banks, as Barclays scandal continues

In light of recent drama in the banking sector, there is a large consensus among the British public that the behaviour of banks, their senior executives and bosses has not improved since the banking crisis began 5 years ago, our poll shows.

  • 82% think the banks have not improved their behaviour since the banking crisis began five years ago while under one in ten (8%) think the banks have improved their behaviour
  • 85% think the behaviour of senior executives and bank bosses has not improved while only 5% think they have improved their behaviour

When approaching high street banks with their financial matters, three fifths of the public do not actually trust high street bankers, with around half believing them to be dishonest or incompetent.

  • 60% do not trust high street banks to look after their money while 34% do trust them
  • 49% think most main high street banks are dishonest, while 28% think they are honest
  • 45% think main high street bankers are incompetent, while 36% think they are competent

Money and misconduct

The already hobbled reputations of both investment and high street banks have once again been thrown into disarray after a computer glitch left millions of customers without access to their money, and former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond resigned amid mounting pressure as a result of the LIBOR-rigging scandal and newly-launched investigation into alleged misconduct.

The computer glitch, which affected branches of NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ullster banks, have had to work overtime to get all customer accounts back in order after many customers were unable to access their money for almost a week. RBS chief executive Stephen Hester agreed to waive this year's bonus following the failure.

But Hester is not in as much hot water as former Barclays Chief Executive Bob Diamond, whose company was recently fined a record £290m for manipulating the interbank lending rate between 2005 and 2009. The Serious Fraud Office has said it will decide within a month whether to bring criminal prosecution charges into the scandal, which has led to an investigation of many different banks.

‘The age of irresponsibility’

Barclays Chairman Marcus Agius has defended bank employees and expressed disappointment in the damage done to the reputation of high street banks and bankers. Agius argues that "each and every one of the people at Barclays works hard every day to serve our customers and clients. That is how we support economic growth and the communities in which we live and work."

However, discussing the revelations, Chancellor George Osborne has said that behaviour such as this is damaging to the reputation of an industry so vital to economic prosperity. He told Parliament: "It's time to deal with the culture that flourished in the age of irresponsibility and hold those who allowed it to do so to account."

Diamond is today giving evidence at the new Inquiry into the allegations against Barclays.

See the survey details and full results here