Simon Thompson – Our Duty of Care
As the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak continues to dominate the news and uncertainty is all around, everyone’s thoughts, are, quite rightly, focused on the medical emergency right now with our doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals and many others in the front line.
At some point - hopefully not before too long - our focus will shift to mitigating and recovering from the financial impacts of the pandemic. Banks and bankers will play a key role alongside government to help rebuild businesses, communities and personal finances.
With this in mind, over the course of last year I was delighted to lead the retail banking sector roundtables as part of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Purpose Working Group. I was hugely heartened by the extent of engagement in this work and my fellow working group members included representatives from banks, building societies, credit unions, customer groups and a wide range of other stakeholders. Our work culminated in the FCA publishing a Discussion Paper recently entitled, transforming culture in financial services – driving purposeful cultures.
We could not have foreseen that two of the three purposeful goals we identified for banking resonate strongly with what will be required from banks and bankers in the weeks and months ahead:
- To be a reliable custodian of money and information.
- To help everyone with their money
Throughout our history – since the Chartered Banker Institute was founded in 1875 - we have been consistent in our view that the broad purpose of banking is to support the economic life and prosperity of customers and communities in a responsible and sustainable manner. There has been great progress made in embedding purposeful cultures in financial services over the past decade. Now, we will be tested (no pun intended) like never before.
Our sector, and our banking profession is ready to play its part. We are comprised of thoughtful, purposeful individuals, the overwhelming majority of whom come to work every day wanting to support customers, their families and their businesses whether we work at for-profit institutions or in the mutual sector. Let us demonstrate our purposeful professionalism, and – albeit it in a different sense from our medical colleagues – let us show we care too.