Barclays to reveal overhaul plans

barclaysBonuses and culture at scandal-hit Barclays will be thrust into the spotlight once more next week when the bank delivers its annual profits and the long-awaited results of a strategic review.

New chief executive Antony Jenkins will on Tuesday reveal his plans to repair the bank's battered reputation and overhaul its culture and practices following a string of damaging scandals.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%

He is expected to warn of pay cuts and a swathe of job losses, having told the Banking Standards Commission earlier this week he was "shredding" the legacy left by former boss Bob Diamond - who quit after the bank's £290 million Libor rigging settlement last year.
Thousands of staff are reportedly facing the axe and its investment banking business is likely to bear the brunt after a redundancy consultation process was launched last month.

Mr Jenkins has already waived his bonus for 2012, saying it was "only right that I bear an appropriate degree of accountability" after a "very difficult" year for the group.
But Barclays is set to reveal how much its wider bonus pool is for 2012 and what it will pay the 24,000 staff in its investment banking arm, around 9,000 of which are based in London.
Amid intense public and political pressure to rein in bonuses, the pot is likely to be sharply lower than the £2.2 billion set aside for 2011, which included £1.5 billion for Barclays Capital employees.
Mr Jenkins has already assured that bonuses have been slashed to take account of its mounting mis-selling compensation bill and the Libor fixing affair. This week's additional £1 billion to cover mis-selling of payment protection insurance and interest rate swap products to small businesses resulted in another "material" cut to the bonus pot, he told the Banking Standards Commission.
Barclays is also reportedly telling more than a thousand top investment bankers there will be no upfront cash bonus this year, with 1,200 managing directors in Barclays Capital receiving nothing until next year. The bonuses, split 50% in cash and 50% in shares will be paid out in equal portions over three years to 2016.

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Barclays to reveal overhaul plans

More than 46,000 of 106,000 the complaints received by the FOS in the second half of last year related to payment protection insurance (PPI). And the organisation is expecting to receive a record 165,000 PPI complaints in 2012/2013.

The huge numbers are due to the PPI mis-selling scandal that should now be a thing of the past, but there is no doubt that the insurance, which can add thousands to the cost of a loan, is highly unpopular!

(Pictured: Martin Lewis after the PPI payout ruling)

Complaints about mortgages jumped by 38% in the last six months of last year, the FOS figures show, compared to an increase of just 5% in investment-related complaints.

Common gripes about mortgages include the exit penalties imposed should you want to sell up or change you mortgage before a fixed or discounted deal comes to an end, and the high arrangement fees charged by many lenders.

While there is nothing in the data released by the FOS about the number of complaints relating to savings accounts, hard-pressed savers have been struggling with low interest rates for several years now.

You can get up to 3.10% with Santander's easy-access eSaver account, but many older accounts are paying 1.00% or less and even this market-leading offer includes a 12-month bonus of 2.60% - meaning that the rate will plummet to just 0.50% after the first year.

Banks are imposing the highest authorised overdraft interest rates since records began, with today's borrowers paying an average of 19.47%, according to the Bank of England.

A typical Briton with an overdraft of £1,000 is therefore forking out around £200 in interest charges alone. Coupled with meagre returns on savings, it's enough to make your blood boil!

While authorised overdrafts may seem expensive, going into the red without permission will cost you even more due to huge penalty fees.

Barclays, for example, charges £8 (up to a maximum of £40 a day) each time that there is not enough money in your account to cover a payment.

If you need to send money abroad, the likelihood is that your bank will impose transfer charges - and offer you a poor rate of exchange. Someone transferring a five-figure sum could easily lose out by £500 or more as a result.

The good news, however, is that you can often get a better deal by using a currency specialist such as Moneycorp.

Automated telephone banking systems, not to mention call centres in far-flung parts of the world, are one of our top gripes - especially as we often encounter them when we are already calling to report a problem.

In the words of one disgruntled customer: "What is it about telephone banking that turns me into Victor Meldrew? Well, maybe it's the fourteen security questions, maybe it's the range of products that they try to push or maybe it's because I'm forced to listen to jazz funk at full volume while my phone bill soars.

"Actually though, I think it's because the people I eventually speak to rarely seem able to solve the issue I'm calling about."

The days of a personal relationship with your bank manager are long gone - for the huge majority of us at least.

When ethical Triodos Bank investigated recently why around 9 million Britons would not recommend their banks to a friend or relative, it found that almost a third felt they were not treated as individuals. Another 40%, meanwhile, were simply disappointed with the customer service they received.

When you're in a rush, the last thing you want to do is wait in a long queue at your local branch.

Researchers at consumer champion Which? recently found that most people get seen within 12 minutes, but you could have a much longer wait if you go in at a busy time. Frustrating stuff!

The Triodos Bank research also indicated that the bonus culture that ensured the bank's high-flying employees received large salaries, even when it was making a loss at the taxpayer's expense, was hugely unpopular with consumers.

About a quarter of those who would not recommend their current banks said this was the main reason why. And with RBS executives sharing a £785 million bonus pool despite the bank, which is 82% publicly owned, making a loss of £2 billion last year, it's not hard to see why.

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