Ex-Co-op boss says bank crisis a "tragedy" and that governance structure must change

Ex-Co-operative chief executive Peter Marks has said that the Co-op Bank has been a "tragedy" while grilled by the Treasury Select Committee (TSC).

Marks told the committee that he wasn't on the bank's board and that he could not have changed its governance, pointing to the very different structure of a private limited company versus that of the Co-operative's mutual structure. He said that "we all have to take some degree of responsibility, including me."

Now Marks believe that the governance structure of the bank has to change. He has agreed with the TSC that individuals with no experience in banking should not be elected to the bank's board.

Defending the reputation of the bank as an ethical lender, Marks said that the Co-op Bank does not profit maximise, provides lending for socially excluded people and rejects around £2bn of business a year that does not fit in with the type of business the Co-op wishes to do.

Marks said that he puts responsibility for the Britannia merger (which resulted in a large number of the bad loans on Co-op's books) with David Anderson and Neville Richardson, with responsibility for the Co-op bank and Britannia respectively.