British Bankers Association chief Angela Knight mounted a spirited defence of the finance industry in front of an at times disbelieving audience at the Cutlers’ Feast.
“I can pledge from the banking industry that we are with you, not against you – working within your teams and your groups,” said Sheffield-born Mr Knight, who takes over as chief executive of Energy UK, a trade association for companies in the energy sector, in the summer.
“Conditions have changed and we do not pretend to get it right all the time.”
Mrs Knight argued that banks weren’t to blame for the crisis affecting countries in the Euro.
“It was not the banks who went on that 15 year spending spree in Greece – it was their politicians. It was not the banks that failed to reform employment law in Spain, where unemployment among young people has hit 50pc.
“And it was not the banks who ran ‘bunga bunga’ parties and put starlets into the Italian parliament.”