Could it get any worse for the banks? Protesters targeted Barclays on Saturday – 50 branches in more than 30 towns and cities, according to The Guardian.
“We’re not all in this together”, read the placards. Other banners called for “books not bonuses”, and protesters set up libraries in Barclays branches. In the public mind, George Osborne and Bob Diamond have fused into one self-serving hybrid.
The problem pre-dates both of them, however. The graph below shows the dramatic gap that’s opened up between bankers pay and the rest of the private sector. It’s US data, but you can bet it’s the same in the UK.
It’s not just about the numbers. It’s about a sense that the banks have become detached from society. They’ve created a them-and-us reality – hence we see a broad base of public disapproval and a deepening sense of mistrust. Edelman’s latest Trust Barometer is pretty clear:
Why should the banks care? Maybe they’ll become inured to public ire. That would be a mistake: public opinion and a hostile media environment are creating pressure for the politicians, and the regulators are keen to flex their muscles.
In the meantime, middle England is flexing it’s muscles. The photos below show a family protest day out, and a group of builders bricked up the entrance to a Barclays bank. The Bournemouth Echo reports that they were “watched by a group of cheering onlookers, and with passing motorists sounding their horns in support”.
Filed under: Apple, Banks, Coca-Cola, Google, Pharma, Vodafone | Tags: Apple, Banks, Coca-Cola, disaster relief, Google, Pharma, Vodafone
Are they genuine good neighbours, or just jumping on the help-Haiti bandwagon? Who cares if the result is positive. Big brands are queueing up to help – here are some of the ways they’re doing it.
In response to requests from relief agencies, Google has released a new layer on Google Earth showing pre/post earthquake satellite images. Google has also set up a person-finder service and donated $1 million to relief agencies.
Coke can bottle water on a mass scale – a real lifeline. After the 2004 Tsunami, Coke’s bottlers and distributors provided safe drinking water to many of the effected areas. In 2007, Coke provided 1.5 million liters of bottled water to victims of the floods in Mexico. Coke says it’s bottling plant in the Dominican Republic is providing water to Haiti, and the company has also donated $1 million to relief efforts.
T-Mobile has received a lot of coverage for it’s announcement on Thursday of free calls to Haiti for customers trying to connect with ” loved ones in Haiti during the aftermath”.
The games developer behind MafiaWars and FarmVille, Zynga has over 40 million daily users. By integrating donation into the gameplay, Zynga has so far raised over $1.2 million to the UN Food Programme- and this is expected to be a lot higher.
Big-pharma companies stand accused of exploiting the developing world through drugs-trial programmes and the high price of patented AIDS medication. Against this background, AstraZeneca is providing supplies of antibiotics and respiratory medication to the relief effort.
Vodafone has long-standing partnerships with Oxfam and Telecom Sans Frontiers, providing emergency telecommunications for disaster relief – and teams of telecoms engineers are currently in Haiti.
…AND THE BANKS?
The big banks are definitely still in the dog house. You might think they’d want to show their caring side by joining the help-Haiti brigade – but no, aside from a smattering of donations that don’t add up to a mid-level bonus: JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs each donated $1 million. Indeed, Huffington Post estimates that US banks and credit card companies have been actually making money out of disasters, earning around £250 million a year on charitable donations. The article prompted Visa, Mastercard and Amex to waive fees for the Haiti appeal.
A list of other random corporate contributions is in this Reuters “fact box“.