Principles for Responsible Banking: Consultation Response

  • Chartered Banker Institute
  • 30 July 2019
  • Blog | Professionalism and Ethics | Blog

Individual conduct is key to responsible banking

In its response to the global consultation on the United Nations Principles for Responsible Banking, the Chartered Banker Institute calls for greater emphasis on the role of the individual.

The Chartered Banker Institute is proud to be one of the UK’s first supporters of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative’s Principles for Responsible Banking.

There is significant alignment between the desired impact of this initiative and the Institute’s purpose and mission. For example, this year we will complete work to revise two of our key education programmes: the Green Finance Certificate and the revised Professional Banker Certificate.  Both now include significant coverage of the Principles for Responsible Banking.

Moving mindsets

We understand that the Principles are intended to help change the cultural mindset within banks and through their implementation work to reconnect banks and bankers with society.

It is our view, however, that there could be more done to highlight the importance of the latter: linking the individuals that comprise banks with the customers they serve. 

In their application, our professional codes of conduct and programmes of initial and continuing professional development not only compel individuals to do the best for their customers and society; they also hold them accountable to each other in upholding the highest standards of ethical professionalism, regardless of organisation or location.

We would suggest that the UN encourage professional bodies and similar associations to review their own codes of conduct, and programmes of initial and continuing professional development, and ensure they are aligned to include an emphasis on the role of the individual.

Personal commitment

For example, we are currently considering a revision within our own code which would commit our members to being ‘responsible stewards of our natural resources and planet, for current and future generations’.

The Principles might go further and explicitly state the need for organisations to support individuals in developing and demonstrating a personal commitment, who understand they must do the right thing by their customer and that in serving that customer well they also serve wider society. 

We believe the knowledge, confidence, support and stability professional bodies, like ours, provide to these individuals empowers them to collectively change the culture of financial services for the better – and drive forward ethical standards that increase and sustain public trust.

Read our full Principles for Responsible Banking consultation response, and others, at our Consultation Responses hub, here.