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ECONOMICS > Confident will repair reputation, Barclays says

LONDON - Reuters

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British bank Barclays pledged to repair the damage to its reputation caused by its part in the interest-rate rigging scandal that has rocked the banking industry, after beating forecasts with a 4 billion pound ($6.3 billion) profit.

“We are sorry for the issues that have emerged over recent weeks and recognize that we have disappointed our customers and shareholders,” Chairman Marcus Agius said on July 27.

“I am confident we can, and will, repair the reputational damage done to our business in their eyes and those of all our stakeholders,” Agius said, reaffirming a commitment to deliver a return on equity of 13 percent.

The bank said there has been no exodus of clients and its performance during July has been ahead of last year.
 
Barclays is searching for a new chief executive and chairman after they quit following a record 290 million pound fine last month for rigging the Libor interest rate benchmark, sparking fierce criticism about its culture and risk-taking.

Agius said the board was focused on filling those positions, but gave no update on likely timing. Investors are keen for one or both of the CEO or chairman to come from outside, to implement a far-reaching overhaul.

Former J.P. Morgan banker Bill Winters is favorite to be CEO and former U.K. Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell is front-runner for chairman, according to industry sources and U.K. media reports.

Barclays shares were up 4 percent to 159.9 pence in early trade, topping the FTSE 100 index.

An inquiry by U.K. lawmakers into the Libor scandal showed that Britain’s financial regulator had warned Barclays four months earlier that its culture was too aggressive and must change.

July/28/2012

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