Barclays sorry ‘for letting customers down’

Barclays has launched a bid to repair its battered brand by returning to above the line advertising with a campaign apologising for ‘letting customers down’ over the LIBOR rate rigging scandal.


In an open letter to from outgoing chairman Marcus Agius printed in national newspapers over the weekend (14 15 July), customers and clients are told the bank is “truly sorry for what has happened and for being “let down”.

No direct reference is made to the scandal, which saw the bank fined by the City watchdog for manipulating the rates banks use to lend to each other in the wholesale market, instead Agius asks customers to judge it on its “actions over the coming months”, vowing not to be “distracted from what really matters – delivering for you, day in and day out”.

Barclays will be hoping the campaign helps repair some of the damage to its brand inflicted since news of the fine broke. Chief executive Bob Diamond resigned over fears damage to the corporate brand could spread and irreparably harmperception of its high street operation.

The bank pulled advertising following Diamond’s resignation after concluding it was inappropriate to push its wider offering when facing such heavy criticism from consumers and MPs.
Barclays’ move to run reassurance ads mirrors that of Natwest, which has stopped running its “helpful banking” slots after computer problems left thousands of customers of the RBS Group owned bank unable to draw cash from their accounts but is running spots updating customers on progress.

Financial services firms that stress their ethical or community approach to banking have ramped up marketing efforts to try and exploit growing public disquiet over the actions of banks.

One of those, Nationwide, ran ads at the weekend inviting customers “who want an alternative” to their bank to “join the 15 million who have found one”.

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