The chief executive of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, has suggested that top bankers are doing “God's work”.
He made the comments in an interview with the Sunday Times, in which he insisted that banks have a “social purpose”. His remarks were described as “frankly astonishing” by Church Action on Poverty.
'We're very important. We help companies to grow by helping them to raise capital” said Blankfein, “Companies that grow create wealth. This, in turn, allows people to have jobs that create more growth and more wealth”.
He said that he understood that many people were angry with bankers, but insisted that Goldman Sachs had a long record of responsible behaviour, which he contrasted with many other financial institutions.
When challenged about excessive bonuses, he insisted that they were due to increased profits resulting from economic recovering and that therefore “Everybody should be happy”.
His comments provoked an angry response from Church Action on Poverty (CAP), who declared themselves “puzzled and offended by the assertion that the continual creation of more wealth - concentrated in the hands of those who are already wealthy - is somehow 'God's work'”.
CAP spokesperson Liam Purcell insisted that, “When we read the Bible, we see a God who is on the side of the poor, and who offers a vision of a fairer, more just society. The big banks, on the other hand, have played a key role in widening the gap between rich and poor, exploiting and abandoning those who are in poverty.”
He told Ekklesia that “God's work is about sharing our resources more fairly, and building stronger communities."
Goldman Sachs last month announced that its top staff would receive combined bonuses of £13.4 billion, a record sum. The resulting criticism led to suggestions that the bank would donate around £600 million to charity.