Former BBA chief apologises over financial crisis

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The former chair of the British Bankers’ Association has apologised to a committee of MPs for the role of banks in causing the financial crisis, while also seeking to defend her track record at the trade body.

At a Treasury committee hearing on her appointment as chair of the Office for Tax Simplification, Knight was asked whether her stint at the BBA, which encompassed the Libor manipulation scandals, meant she lacked the credibility for the role.

She said: “I don’t know whether I did a good job, a bad job or an indifferent job, that’s in the eyes of others, but I certainly did what I could.”

She added: “I am so sorry that I ended up at the BBA in the banking crisis.

“I’m so sorry that it chose me to be its target. I’m so sorry that I never persuaded the authorities to take over Libor early, and I’m so sorry that the banks brought about the financial disaster that they did.”

In particular, Knight defended her track record over Libor, saying she had tried to recruit the Bank of England for an “observer” role on rates as early as 2008.

However, she said the Bank refused the role.

Knight’s appointment as the new OTS chair was first revealed in December.

Prior to helming the BBA, Knight was a Conservative MP from 1992 to 1997 and City minister in John Major’s government from 1995 to 1997.