Antony Jenkins admits 'it could take 10 years to rebuild trust in Barclays'

Chief executive says 'trust is a very easy thing to lose, and a very hard thing to win back'

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The Independent Online

Barclays’ chief executive, Antony Jenkins, has said that it could take up to a decade for the bank to regain public trust in the aftermath of a series of scandals.

Mr Jenkins made the comment in a speech to students at Brooke House Sixth Form College in East London.

In the chat, which was broadcast on this morning's Today programme on BBC Radio 4, Mr Jenkins said: “Trust is a very easy thing to lose, and a very hard thing to win back.

"In my view it will takes several years - probably five to ten - to rebuilt trust in Barclays."

Barclays was the first bank to be implicated in the Libor scandal, in which traders rigged the London inter-banking rate, leading to a £290 million fine in June 2012, and the bank was also involved in the PPI mis-selling scandal.

Mr Jenkins vowed to restore Barclay’s reputation when he was made CEO in August last year, after the Libor scandal brought down his predecessor, Bob Diamond. In February he revealed his plan to overhaul the bank by fundamentally changing the culture under which its traders operate.

He added in his speech that he hoped the future actions of Barclays would help rebuild confidence in the wider banking sector.

Mr Jenkins chose as his theme “the importance of long-term thinking and planning, and proper leadership”.

“Trust is lost in weeks and months, and regained in years and decades,” he said.

"My point is not that short term markets are bad or inaccurate. They serve a very useful purpose. It is susceptible to elevator analysis – this is up this is down. In addition to looking at the short term and what that tells us how do we focus on longer term drivers of the economy."

British economist John Kay told the Today programme, which Mr Jenkins was guest editing, that bankers' now spend more time than religious leaders telling the public that they are ethical, while simultaneously working in an industry that has acted anything but ethically.

“Over the last 20 years banks have systematically destroyed their relationship with their customers,” Mr Kay said, adding that he was not very optimistic that things would improve.

Mr Jenkins responded by saying that that the cure to a rotten culture is proper leadership from the top, but that the process is a slow one.

"In my view leadership sets the culture in big organisations and culture drives organisational performance. If you want a different sort of organisational performance, a more ethical business, you’re going to have to change culture. Culture takes time to change and it comes back to leadership. If you take a long term perspective you’ll build the right culture," he said.

Mr Jenkins added that he was setting a target for Barclays to be more trusted than not by 2018.

It is one of eight commitments Jenkins will make to staff, customers, shareholders and what he calls society in a few months.