Britain's biggest banks endured a "dire" year for their reputations in 2012, despite the fact their core profits climbed markedly over the course of the 12-month period, a new study has shown.
A report published today (25 March) by KPMG revealed that Barclays, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and Standard Chartered registered a collective core profit rise of 45 per cent last year to a total of £31.5 billion ($47 billion).
However, this strong performance was nullified by "the cost of past mistakes and increased creditworthiness of their own debt", the global auditing organisation noted.
As such, the five financiers saw their statutory profits decline by 40 per cent year-on-year in 2012.
For instance, the banks saw the cost of their charges for the mis-selling of payment protection insurance rise significantly last year.
Bill Michael of KPMG explained that the positive impact of the companies' "better performance" was all-but wiped out by "fines and other exceptional items".
"This is why it is so important for them to address cultural and ethical perceptions and issues," he added.
By Asim Shah