Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins has denied any conflict between his bank and its regulators, even as the U.K. banking giant tries to fend off pressure to meet stricter capital requirements.
Last month, the Bank of England's new Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) surprised the industry by enforcing a 3 percent leverage ratio target on lenders, and singled out Barclays, which has a ratio of 2.5 percent after adjustments, as among banks that fall short of the target.
Barclays responded last Friday by warning it may have to cut lending to households and businesses to meet the new financial requirements, drawing a swift and sharp comeback from the Bank of England, which said restricting lending would not be accepted.
"I don't describe it as a pitched battle at all, we have a very constructive relationship with our regulators," Jenkins told CNBC in an exclusive interview on CNBC's "Asia Squawk Box" on Thursday.
Jenkins said the PRA's target was "understandable and a reasonable request."
"In February we launched a plan called 'Transform' and under the plan we made a series of commitments to build our capital and get our return on equity above the cost of equity by the end of 2015 and we are very comfortable given the work we've done in the past six months...What we're talking about with the regulators is timing," said Jenkins.
"Reducing lending to the real economy is something that we want to avoid, and by the way we love lending, that's our business. I wouldn't characterize it at all as conflict," he added.
Barclays has long had a fraught relationship with regulators. Jenkins took over from ousted CEO Bob Diamond in August last year, following the scandal surrounding Barclays' manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), which cost the bank £290 million ($442 million) in fines.
Jenkins, who has been dubbed "Saint Antony" by some in the City of London, has pledged to convert Barclays from a bank whose ethos has revolved around profit maximization to one where success is measured through "respect," "integrity" and "service."