Barclays boss Jes Staley has predicted the UK will enjoy its strongest year of growth since 1948 as the rapid rollout of vaccines enables the economy to reopen.
Jes Staley told the BBC:  “I think there will be a very robust recovery.
“There’s so much pent-up demand and there’s money available to exercise that demand; I think the economy will do pretty well,” he said.
His comments came as the bank enjoyed a record quarter at the start of 2021, hitting pre-tax profits not seen in 13 years.
The £2.4bn pre-tax profit for the first three months of the year came through strong growth in its corporate and investment banking division and an improved mortgage book.
Mr Staley said: “As we enter the next phase of this pandemic, we remain resolute in our commitment to support the economic recovery.
“From our spend data, which captures UK economic activity across our cards and acquiring businesses, we are already seeing encouraging early signs of recovery in some sectors, including those hit hardest by the crisis.”
The bank’s high street division had a mixed period as the recent lockdowns reduced consumer spending, but the stamp duty holiday continued to help the housing market and its mortgage division.
Impairment charges – money put aside in case of defaulting loans – were also significantly reduced as the economy improved and the post-pandemic outlook appeared more stable compared with a year ago.
The charges for the quarter were just £100m compared with £2.1bn a year ago, although, unlike rivals NatWest and Lloyds, Barclays said it would not release the provisions just yet.
Mr Staley pointed out that the corporate and investment bank (CIB) had a particularly strong quarter, with income of £3.6bn, and return on tangible equity (RoTE) – the bank’s preferred measure – was 17.9pc.

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