There was no single person to blame for the Co-operative Group’s subsequent loss of control of the Co-operative Bank, said Mr Marks.
When pressed by the Treasury committee to name a person who could take the sole responsibility, Mr Marks said: “As a non-executive director of the Bank, of course I share responsibility. Should we have merged with Britannia Building Society? If we had had a crystal ball, of course we wouldn’t. But we did rely very heavily on the fair value and due diligence of work that was done on our behalf.”
He added: “I don’t want to sit here and say ‘it’s not me’. I was a non-executive of the Bank. We all have to take some degree of responsibility, including me.”
Though, Andrew Tyrie, Chair of the Treasury committee, asked Mr Marks to name the prime recommendation of a recent report issued the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, to which Mr Marks said he could not “recall”.
Mr Tyrie said it is that individual responsibility should be taken for actions in banks. He told Mr Marks: “You’re saying that there was no individual responsibility for these decisions and that they were always jointly owned?” Mr Marks said: “Yes”.
Even though Mr Marks described himself as the driving force behind the deal, he said the architects were David Anderson, Chief Executive of the Bank at the time, and Neville Richardson, the incoming Co-operative Bank CEO, who was the Chief Executive of Britannia Building Society.
On the Lloyds deal, Mr Marks said this was a collective decision. He said: “The Group board unanimously voted to look at this deal, the Bank board unanimously voted to look at this deal. I was acting on behalf of the Group board, but I wasn’t acting alone, this wasn’t Peter Marks PLC, this was a joint effort between the Bank team and the retail team.”