Banking on Trust: Engaging to Rebuild a Healthy Banking Sector

The BankingFutures dialogue, facilitated by Leaders’ Quest and Meteos, explored how to rebuild a healthy UK Banking Sector. The resulting report produced by a group of senior bankers, investors and sector experts, and based on the views of over 200 banking, investor, regulatory, customer and civil society stakeholders, calls for bank leadership to take action to rebuild a healthy banking sector in the UK. The report launched on 1st February 2016, is a response to an earlier consultation document produced by the BankingFutures Working Group.The three key recommendations are:

  1. Banks to better serve the real economy’s current and future needs.
  2. Bank leaders commit to work with the Investor Forum to create banking and investment cultures that enable the sector to deliver long-term value.
  3. Bank leaders commit to a public process involving consumers, civil society and regulators to improve their duty of care and respect for customers.

“The financial crisis was a painful reminder that commercial banks should operate for the good of the public, their customers. Now we must tackle the question of what banking system we do want. BankingFutures is an important initiative involving a wide group of stakeholders. It has a call to leadership, to respect customers and to support our economy. The report is an important start but it must not gather dust. Now we must all make the change happen,” says Andrew Bailey, Deputy Governor Bank of England.

The report highlights the fact that the size and profile of the UK banking sector, and its importance to the economy, gives rise to tensions that require ongoing and careful management. To do this well means addressing the mistrust that is endemic across the banking system. The banking sector in particular has a tremendous amount to do before it regains societal, investor, consumer and regulatory trust. But it is not just banks. Banking reform is a cultural challenge as well as a regulatory one; requiring thoughtful, principled leaders from all stakeholders to participate in debates about how to create a healthy banking system.

“Our starting point is that banks are here to serve. Society needs to tell us how, and then we need to meet those requirements. However, it’s also our responsibility to help society express informed choices. We have a collective challenge that our voice is currently absent from these debates,” comments John Flint, Chief Executive, Retail Banking and Wealth Management, HSBC

“For a long time investors over-emphasised the importance of short term profit maximisation. We need to hold managers to account so they can drive the right behaviours in their organisations. It’s incumbent on this group to work with managers to set new expectations and help drive down that change,” says Jessica Ground, Global Head of Stewardship, Schroders

“Trust in the banking industry remains perilously low. Time alone won’t heal that; it requires concerted effort by the industry. We’ve been pleasantly surprised that people were ready to hear from bankers. We now have space to discuss and debate a way forward with the stakeholders that we serve. The leadership challenge in banks is unique and complex; the UK industry needs initiatives like BankingFutures to help unravel that.” Matt Hammerstein, Head of Client and Customer Experience, Personal and Corporate Banking, Barclays

“We have been overwhelmed by the high level of engagement in the BankingFutures consultation,” says BankingFutures Co-Director, and Meteos Partner, Sophia Tickell. “It gives real legitimacy to the report’s findings.”