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Banks turn cannibal as Barclays prepares to eat young

In an exclusive interview with the BBC, Barclays boss Bob Diamond seems to have started using language that will make smaller financial institutions shake in their fur-lined booties. KitGuru pretends to open a joint chequeing account, just to hear the tellers talk.

While the business world plus dog bangs on about competition, publicly, the reality is that most markets settle on a few big dogs running everything and a bunch of significantly smaller, yapping terriers running around the outside, trying to pick off whatever meat is left behind.

With its own challenges a dim memory, the UK’s number one bank is now firmly on the offensive.

As long-term competitors RBS and Lloyds have their ‘Yes, sure, we believe you are solid, secure and honest’ ratings cut by independent ratings agencies, Barclays has been banging in huge profits, backing spending cuts and – just to show that you can’t make an omelette without busting a few un-hatched chickens… leading the complaints list.

But all of that is what you might call ‘standard business practice’. The revelation on this morning’s BBC Radio 4 interview was that Barclays is all in favour of letting smaller/weaker banks fail.

The classic Rickman quote from Die Hard centre on Alexandra the Great bursting into tears, because there were no more world’s to conquer.

One way to increase the size of the available profits is to marinade the smaller banks, then spit roast them with your pals – dividing up the customers and profis accordingly.

Cannibalism is a different kind of growth, but certainly valid. Plus it’s hard to feel sorry for a bank that gets ripped to shreds, when you remember that they are the chaps that rejoyced in charging you £35 for a letter to say that you owe them 35 pence.

Bob offers fellow banks a finger. Showing Barclays' likely direction. Surely.

KitGuru says: While Nat West pushes harder and harder to be the high-street bank of choice, even at weekends, Barclays is looking at online and commercial opportunities that require its opponents to die. But, as Bob Diamond was so kind to point out, it must happen quietly, in a controlled environment, where no one can hear them scream. Chicken nuggets anyone?

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