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Quarter of Germans think bankers are criminal

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Quarter of Germans think bankers are criminal
Photo: DPA
10:54 CEST+02:00
Nearly one in four Germans consider bankers to be “extremely criminal” in the light of the many recent scandals - interest rate fixing, for example - a new survey revealed.

The Handelsblatt business daily newspaper said on Friday that the poll it commissioned showed 24.2 percent of those asked considered bankers “extremely criminal” while just one percent said they were “generally innocent”.

On a scale from zero (extremely criminal) to ten (innocent), the average rating given to bankers was 3.3.

Deutsche Bank and West LB are two German institutions among 16 large banks involved in the Libor scandal - in which banks are accused of having manipulated the interest rates at which they lend to each other.

This Libor index is based on information from the banks themselves, and serves as a reference rate for loans worth a total of $360 billion to companies, private individuals and others.

The top managers of British giant Barclays Bank have resigned in disgrace after admitting manipulating the rate by issuing false information – and 15 other banks are under investigation. The supervisory organizations in the UK and US are also under scrutiny as they failed to notice what was happening for years.

More than half (55.4 percent) of those asked said their trust in their own banks had been damaged as a direct result of the Libor scandal.

Just over half (51.2 percent) said the main priority should be to compensate those who lost money as a result, while just over 38 percent said those responsible should go to prison.

The poor reputation of bankers illustrated by the Handelsblatt survey and conducted by polling firm Mafo, fits with results from another survey – of bankers in the US and UK, which showed many of them consider breaking the law necessary for success.

Of the 500 managers asked, 16 percent said they would commit a crime if they knew they could get away with it. More than a quarter bank legal advisors said they knew of laws being broken in their companies.

The Local/hc

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