What Bracknell Thinks: Should Barclays bankers be prosecuted?By Hugh Fort
July 13, 2012
Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond resigned following revelations his bank had been ‘rigging’ interest rates to make the bank’s financial position appear better than it was.
There have been calls for criminal prosecutions after the scandal. We asked our panel whether they thought bankers should be criminally prosecuted, whether there should be more control over banking and whether the banks can restore their image after the various collapses and scandals.
Mark Robson, of the Insight Group: “The banks are key to the success of the UK economy. However, they are not above the law. Over the past few years we have seen how their ‘suspect’ dealings have bought not only the banks but the economy to its knees and they haven’t learned or appeared to be penalised.
“The latest Libor revelations must be investigated and if fraudulent activities are confirmed then legal prosecutions must take place – with no exceptions and no exclusions.
“Until the banks split the retail and ‘casino banking’ operations and stop gambling with personal and business money then trust in the banking system will never be regained.”
Peter Smith, of Bracknell Chamber of Commerce and The Better Business Alliance: “Perhaps bankers have acted illegally, in which case they should be prosecuted.
“Some of us remember the time when a bank manager made a judgement based on what he believed to be the best interest of his customer and the bank.
“Managers were retired and the new style of banking was to maximise profits, often selling unsuitable products to unaware or unsophisticated customers.
“If this was happening on the high street no surprise the ‘make money out of the punters’ behind the public gaze in trading rooms became the norm. With new high street banks starting to materialise, people will start to vote with their feet and the banks will need to provide customers with more suitable products and services. How much simpler this would become if everyone had a personal account number and sort code that was completely portable.
“It works with mobile phone numbers why not with bank accounts?”
Winkfield artist and author Jonathan Greenyer: “The banking industry, like many high value commercial sectors nowadays, is driven by targets and incentives. The bigger the incentives, the more morally corrupt are the people it attracts. That is why banking and finance stinks. There is a culture of amorality throughout these sectors.
“These sociopaths are found at all levels right up to CEO and use their aggressive behaviour and lack of any moral compass to gain rewards for themselves, and hang the consequences for the rest of us.
“Will banking recover from this scandal? Recover? That’s a laugh. Nothing will really change.
“A few people will be thrown to the baying mobs but everything will continue as before.
“Just who do you think can make these changes? There is no one strong enough with enough authority that is not in some way or other complicit.”
Ed Glasson, of Defend Our Community Services (DOCS) group, said: “Sorry that I got to this too late to abandon my lifelong opposition to capital punishment and put in a plea for a few executions. We saw, following last year’s riots, significant prison sentences handed out for stealing a few cans of Coke.
“No one can defend or excuse a riot. But how much more damage has our financial establishment done to tens of millions of people in this country through its greed?”