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)

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger is in Argentina having chemotherapy

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
News
We are phenomenally good at recognising faces; the study showed that humans have been selected to be unique and easily recognisable
science

Human faces unique 'because we don't recognise each other by smell'

Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show?
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
news

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum
theatre

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
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

    Data Warehouse Developer / Analyst (SQL, SSIS, stored procedures)

    £40000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

    Year 6 Teacher

    £110 - £130 per day + D.O.E - Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone:...

    March On Cancer™ - Local Marketing and Promotions Volunteer

    This is an unpaid voluntary role.: Cancer Research UK: We need motivational vo...

    SEN Coordinator + Teacher

    £1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week