Barclays chief executive John Varley spoke to the BBC's business editor Robert Peston
Barclays has announced an 8% rise in first-half profits, boosted by its investment banking division.
Pre-tax profits for the first six months came in at £2.98bn ($5bn), although this was slightly below analysts' forecasts.
Profits at its investment bank Barclays Capital doubled, but those at its UK retail banking arm more than halved.
HSBC reported half-year profits of $5bn, although this was about half what it made in the same period a year ago.
Shares in Barclays ended up 6.7%, while HSBC had climbed 5%.
The BBC's business editor Robert Peston says the most resonant measure of how Barclays has performed can be seen in the average pay of staff at its investment bank, which was almost exactly £100,000 for just the first six months of the year.
Decisions about the sensitive issue of bonuses would not be made until the end of the year, however.
Rising bad debts
Total bad debts, across all parts of Barclays' international businesses, rose from £2.45bn to £4.56bn.
Investment banking is booming again - partly thanks to the frenzied attempts by big companies and governments to raise vast amounts of new money
"Investment banking is back. If you are a big company you are going to gravitate towards the banks that have not received government funds," he said.
But, although Barclays has not received a direct injection of capital by taxpayers, it has received significant guarantees from the public sector.
It benefits from a promise that taxpayers will never let it fail, because it would be too damaging to the economy.
Liberal Democrat spokesperson Vince Cable said: "The worry from the British taxpayers' point of view is that ultimately these [investment banking] operations are underwritten by the taxpayer."
"Its fine when they make money. But when they lose money they lose big-time and the taxpayer picks up the bill as we did last year."
Speaking to the BBC Business Editor Robert Peston, chief executive John Varley underlined that the bank did not have to take British tax payer money adding "it is right for us to seek to manage our affairs in such a way to rely on the private sector".
Barclays said it had gained more investment banking clients thanks to the acquisition of some Lehman Brothers businesses in 2008.
The addition of some of the Lehman businesses also "increased significantly" Barclays' presence in the US, the bank said.
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