Calls for Action
As you will be aware Barclays bank was at the center of a public outcry last Thursday after being fined £291 million for alleged manipulation of the borrowing rates.
Basically Barclays was colluding with other banks to keep the inter-bank borrowing rates high. Any kind of price or rate fixing between companies is illegal. However the effect of doing this for a number of years could have a knock on effect on mortgages in the UK – pushing rates for normal customers higher.
That seemed to be the extent of the punishment at least initially, until the story broke and made people outraged. And rightly so.
One journalist described the way Barclays think of its customers as “the little people”. The organisation must have been shocked into the 21st century when a torrent of angry customers were tweeting about their misbehavior that was perhaps conspiratorial and possibly criminal.
As you can imagine there were and are thousands of tweets flying around about this subject at the moment (we can’t list them all) but the main point to takeaway is that until there was real public fury, it was just another slap on the wrist for city bankers.
Just search for the hashtag #Barclays and look at the tone and content of the tweets. Barclays PR and marketing staff will be working overtime to recoup some kind of positive feelings for the long established bank.
But how much can they do when the CEO in charge won’t resign?
No More Trust
Barclays’ board has launched an internal audit of its business practices, which will be conducted by an independent body and report to the new deputy chairman, Sir Michael Rake.
The bank has promised:
- a “root and branch review” of its “flawed” past practices
- a public report of the audit’s findings
- a new mandatory code of conduct for all staff
Barclays also said they will establish a “zero tolerance policy” to anything that damages its reputation.
A recent Facebook campaign has also floundered under weight of the public outcry. The Life of “Dan” posts have been met with angered responses from this fiasco. There has been no comments yet from Barclays on their Facebook page but it will be interesting to see what they do to try and salvage some form of credibility in the minds of consumers and honest business partners.
Business should learn to play it all above board. Sooner or later things come out and given the way we communicate today there are bound to be serious consequences – all because we “the people” call for it to happen.
So far more than £4bn of Barclays’ shares had been wiped off their value – over 15% – in the 72 hours since the fine was revealed by regulators on both sides of the Atlantic. With resentment growing more and fueled by social media we wonder just how much Barclays will loose as the story further unfolds. One thing to be sure of: it’s not over yet.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on the story and customer reactions on social media as it unfolds over the next week.
Usual standards – comments are most welcome.