Barclays corporate woes hit retail brand

Perception of Barclays’ retail bank brand has plummeted following this week’s revelations that executives in its investment banking arm rigged lending rates between banks.


Update: The bank was fined £290m by the Financial Services Authority on Wednesday (26 June) after it was found guilty of manipulating the rates banks use to lend to each other in the wholesale market.

The bank has drawn criticism from David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband and some MPs have called on chief executive Bob Diamond to resign, which he has so far resisted.

In a bid to quash criticism, the bank has launched a “root and branch” review of practices, a new code of conduct for staff. Chairman Marcus Agius has also resigned over the affair.

The negative headlines over the actions of its investment arm have had a negative impact on how consumers view its high street offering, according to YouGov BrandIndex metrics.

Its Index score – an average of how customers rate the brand in terms of impression, quality, value, reputation and satisfaction – slumped to -24.5 Friday (29 June), down from -0.8 on Wednesday. Its Buzz score – a net balance of people that have heard positive and negative things about the brand – fell to -54.6, down from -5 on Wednesday.

The banking group’s reputation suffered further damage Friday when the FSA ruled it and three other banks – RBS, HSBC and Lloyds – guilty of mis-selling interest rate protection products to businesses.

Elsewhere, RBS-owned NatWest has launched a national press campaign to “thank” customers for their “patience” in the wake of the computer problems that left thousands of customer accounts short of salaries.

The ads detail the steps it is taking to “put things right” such as extending opening hours and promising “that no customer will be permanently out of pocket” as a result of the problems.

Its crisis-management efforts have had a positive impact on brand perception. Its index ranking rose to -16.1 yesterday, from -19.9 on the 25 June, while its Buzz score stood at -48.7, an improvement on the -62.9 registered on 25 June.

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