Barclays’ chairman Marcus Agius has resigned, admitting the rate-fixing scandal has unveiled ‘unacceptable standards of behaviour’. But it’s too little too late, and doesn’t fix the corruption at the heart of the system.
It’s all too easy for bankers to admit guilt when someone’s been caught, particularly when they’ve already pocketed millions in salary and bonuses over the years. What we really need is for those found responsible to be hauled before the courts.
And most of you agree: in our survey, almost eight in ten of you said that where banks have broken the law, individuals should be personally prosecuted.
But how can we fix the broken banking system? The Financial Services Authority doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, with only one in five of you saying that it’s effective in regulating UK banks.
Restoring consumer confidence
Consumers also have low confidence in the government to handle the banking crisis effectively. Two thirds say the government will not act in their best interests when implementing banking reform.
As a first step, the banking sector should be referred to the Competition Commission immediately. More competition is essential to force a change in the culture of British banking.
Secondly, let’s claw back bonuses. The manipulation of Libor, the rate at which banks lend to each other, will have led to a direct increase in Barclays’ profits and share price, and therefore to an increase in executive pay. It’s not enough for people at the top to apologise, or even resign. The scale of the problem is such that those found responsible should be brought to book and their bonuses repaid.
How the scandal impacts you
The recent systems failure at NatWest and RBS inconvenienced millions of people, but reeked of incompetence rather than intent. Barclays’ intentional manipulation of Libor has had a less tangible impact on consumers, but it’s a fair bet that millions of us will have lost out indirectly.
Rest assured, we’re trying to find out if retail banking customers lost any money because of Libor rigging, and if so, how and when they will get compensation.
So, how do you think those responsible should be held to account for their actions?