The chairman of
He made his remarks as the ban, which makes two-thirds of its profits in
Flint outlined a list of regulatory changes that the bank was facing, including the implementation of a ringfence between its retail and "casino" investment arms – demanded by
"I do not think we have ever had to ask so much of so many," said Flint of the bank which employs 256,000 people around the world. "We face growing fatigue within critical functions as well as increased market competition for trained staff from other financial institutions facing similar resource challenges. This is adding to cost pressures both from increased salaries as market rates increase, and from investment in training and systems support to improve productivity.
"The demands now being placed on the human capital of the firm and on our operational and systems capabilities are unprecedented."
Flint added that staff were having to work weekends to make changes to its systems. "One of the most obvious statements … [about fatigue] is that there are only 52 weekends in a year."
The bank was fined £1.2bn by the US authorities in 2012 for breaching US sanctions and allowing Mexican drug lords to launder money through the financial system. Last week it faced criticism for closing the accounts of three Muslim organisations, including the
"Greater focus on conduct and financial crime risks at all levels of the firm globally is clearly the right response to past shortcomings. There is, however, an observable and growing danger of disproportionate risk aversion creeping into decision-making in our businesses as individuals, facing uncertainty as to what may be criticised with hindsight and perceiving a zero-tolerance of error, seek to protect themselves and the firm from future censure," Flint said.
He called for clarity from public policy and watchdogs over their expectations about behaviour and the rules, which for instance are leading staff to only sell the simplest products to consumers.
"Unwarranted risk aversion threatens to restrict access to the formal financial system to many who could benefit from it and risks unwinding parts of the eco-system of networks and relationships that support global trade and investment," he said.
The new £218m charge for failing to comply with the Consumer Credit Act makes
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