Barclays would refuse to sign up to any government lending targets because it says it would encourage irresponsible lending.
Steve Cooper, head of the small business division at Barclays, told the Financial Times that banks were facing pressures from capital requirements.
The coalition agreement has pledged to introduce net lending targets for state owned banks.
But Cooper says: “I don’t want to create an expectation that if Barclays said no yesterday it could say yes tomorrow [because it has a target to achieve].”
He adds that there has been a real shift in risk profile and banks are required to hold a lot more capital.