Bob Diamond, the chief executive of Barclays, has apologised to the Government and the British people for ‘the profligate and insouciant way we have treated your support and your money’. He also said sorry for his crass comments yesterday, saying they were the result of a few too many bottles of incredibly expensive wine at lunch.
Mr Diamond confirmed that he would forego his £8 million bonus, and had instructed all his senior executives to do the same. Eric Daniels, chief executive of Lloyds TSB has refused to follow suit, choosing instead to donate his £5 million bonus to his local hospice.
“Arrogance in banking will no longer be tolerated,” Diamond said. “Investment bankers – if we are totally honest – are nothing more than gamblers with other people’s money. All we do is speculate, and in so doing, influence the value of the things we are betting on. But by pretending we actually know what we are doing, people tend to believe that we have some sort of exclusive and deep knowledge that makes us worthy of huge payouts. And currency traders? God, they just bet on one currency being worth more today than it was yesterday, moving money about but not actually doing anything useful. Let’s face it, we’re not worth what we are paid, are we?”
Bank employees terms and conditions have now been altered to ensure that 15% of their working time is spent in some sort of community volunteering capacity.
“We have also introduced a cap on remuneration that should ensure that no-one in the entire financial community ever earns more than enough to buy a five-bedroomed house in Purley. Who actually needs more than that, honestly?”