Dear Martin Taylor: You plan to make Barclays less stuffy, pompous and snobbish? You need all the help you can get, says an Independent journalist well versed in the ways of banks

You've certainly made a splash in your debut months as chief executive of Barclays Bank. Your admission that parts of the bank were 'stuffy, pompous and snobbish' was admirably frank. You want to make the bank less formal and status conscious, more open to outsiders. Terrific]

But I'm a little worried. The task of changing the culture of a monolithic bureaucracy such as Barclays is immense. And you're all alone in there. There's you - a youthful financial journalist-turned-industrialist parachuted in by shareholders fed up with the bank's dismal financial performance - and 100,000 suspicious clearing bankers.

The pressure to go native will be immense. You'll find yourself wanting to discard your floral silk ties in favour of a polyester Rotary Club number and become one of the boys (and at the top of Barclays they're almost all boys). Resist it.

You'll wonder whether it's not easier to go with the flow, adopt the unspoken clearer's 3-6-3 rule: borrow at 3 per cent, lend at 6 (or these days 16), and be on the golf course by 3pm. Stand firm.

You may come to feel: what's the point of trying to improve things for customers when you're on a guaranteed pounds 737,500-a-year salary before performance-related bonuses? Fight it. Think of your millions of ordinary account-holders.

You're our great hope. The only way the high-street banks are going to improve their lousy, shoddy service is through a fundamental change in attitude among their staff, starting at the top.

Remember when we spoke last summer after your appointment was announced? You told me airily that clearing bankers were pretty much like anyone else: 'The way some people talk, you'd think they were an entirely different species.'

I hope you're still as sanguine, but I suspect you've discovered a stubborn strain of Jobsworth complacens in the bank alongside Homo sapiens.

You've already made enemies. Paying more than pounds 100m in bonuses to a few people in your investment banking division has infuriated the bulk of staff in the main high-street bank, especially since you're planning to cut 5,000 jobs.

Yes, I know these high-street bankers live in an unreal world. You come from an industry where hatchet-wielding is second nature. During your spell at Courtaulds Textiles, you closed 20 out of the company's 23 spinning mills, sending thousands to the dole queues.

You do have to shake up the job-for-life attitude, but please get rid of the right people, not those at the sharp end, serving customers. (Look at the NHS reforms, under which administrators are growing like cancer.)

You're only 41 and have no banking experience. The closest you came was as a writer on the Lex column in the Financial Times. Your age and inexperience really stick in the gullet of some of your career-banker colleagues. Your erudition, brain-power and assured Old Etonian manner get up their noses, too.

So stick to your guns, but tread softly, and watch your back.

(Photograph omitted)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: SAGE Bookkeeper & PA to Directors

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

    Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

    £15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

    Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

    £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

    Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

    £28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

    Day In a Page

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map