by Ray Fleming

T EN days ago in this space I praised the ethical regime introduced by the new chief executive of Barclays Bank, Anthony Jenkins, designed to put the bank's bad reputation behind it and based on the principles of “respect, integrity, service, excellence and stewardship”. Mr Jenkins mentioned particularly the need “to put our shared interests ahead of any individual or team” a reference, it was assumed, to highly competitive investment bankers. Mr Jenkins got some headlines for his comment that staff who did not like the new rules should think of leaving the company.

So it was something of a surprise to learn yesterday that Barclays is considering paying Mr Jenkins a one million pound bonus for the six months he has served as chief executive. Apparently some shareholders are objecting and the matter has not yet been settled. At the same time, however, it was reported that among the divisions for which Mr Jenkins was responsible before his promotion were those found to have mis-sold the payment protection insurance that has cost the bank two million pounds in compensation.

Perhaps there is more to know before jumping to conclusions. But despite all the criticism directed at them and all the promises made by them to reform, it continues to be difficult to dismiss the idea that banks seem to live on a different planet from the rest of us.