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Opinion

The hypocrisy of banking and the misdirected cull

I would like to refrain from carping from the sidelines, but I can’t help myself. Is there not the tiniest bit of hypocrisy in Saint Antony’s finger-wagging? After all, Jenkins was a close colleague of his now unpopular predecessor, Bob Diamond. Before ascending to the chief executive throne, Jenkins ran Barclays’ retail and business banking division. He was appointed to this role in November 2009 and thus became caught up in the tail end of the payment protection insurance scandal. Banks were found to have been selling insurance to clients who had no need of it. To date, Barclays has set aside some £2.6 billion to compensate customers.

However, if I recall correctly, Jenkins was not a leader in this field. In fact, Barclays was a bit of a wallflower at the ‘let’s make our customers whole’ party. Wasn’t it Lloyds’ chief executive, António Horta-Osório, who horrified his peers in May 2011 by announcing that Lloyds would take a £3.2 billion write-down to cover its PPI liability. "It is the sensible, prudent and right thing to do," Horta-Osório said at the time.

What was Saint Antony doing then? Was he on the side of the angels? I don’t believe so.

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