Archbishop: naming and shaming bankers feels 'lynch mobbish'

Justin Welby has admitted to empathising with the bankers called before his Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 26 Jul 2013
Apparently being a man of God doesn’t necessarily prevent material temptation: Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has admitted that during evidence sessions with bankers in his role on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, he was ‘thinking, I’m not sure I would have been very different, rather than thinking how bad they were’.

The evidence sessions took place during the run-up to last month’s publication of a 571-page document outlining the commission’s recommendations on cleaning up the banking system. Although Welby admits that some bankers were simply passing the blame, he adds that many just weren’t aware of what was going on at their organisations.

‘Certainly one of the trends that has been very unfortunate, to put it mildly, is that in some financial services companies there was a clear policy of not telling the top people – they made sure they weren’t told things – because then they could plead ignorance. That’s just unacceptable,’ he says.

At the beginning of this month, the chancellor announced plans to introduce legislation making top bankers liable for their company’s behaviour.

But former oil trader (he was the group treasurer at Enterprise Oil) Welby reckons the ‘naming and shaming’ of bankers is unfair.

‘This business of somehow saying that one individual bears the whole blame as opposed to simply the accountability – it feels lynch mobbish,’ he says.

- Image: Flickr/StPaulsLondon

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