Bankers’ gloom about public image deepens

UK bankers are increasingly downbeat about the prospect of improving their reputation, with 50% saying it will take more than 10 years before the public believes banks have changed their culture, according to a new survey by the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI).

When asked the question, “How long do you think it will take (from now) until the public really believe that banks have changed their culture?” half of the 694 respondents said more than 10 years. That’s a marked drop on the 2013 figure of 39%.

Of the 694 bankers surveyed, 29% believed it would take between six and 10 years for the public to believe bankers have changed.

Respondents’ comments were generally pessimistic, with one saying: “There remains massive distrust amongst the public. I don’t see any sign of this reducing.”

Another said: “Unfortunately the constant trial by media, bad press and scaremongering has left a bad taste in the mouth of the general public.”

One respondent was even more pessimistic saying the public would “possibly never” believe bankers had changed their spots.

“The new generation of challenger banks must prove they are different and embrace ‘treating customers fairly’. It is too late for the old guard,” the respondent said.

The drop in sentiment comes after Financial Conduct Authority announced in December 2015 that it would shelve its review of banking culture, handing it over to the Banking Standards Board.

‘Serious about achieving cultural change’

CISI chartered fellow Simon Culhane said the organisation had working with “a number of major international banks” over the last 18 months, and insisted that they are “serious about achieving cultural change.

“But why are they reticent about making the fact public?” he asked. “Training should be not seen as a sign of inherent weakness but as a demonstration that a bank understands and accepts its responsibilities.”

He went on: “Being more open about the actions that they are taking would, we believe, be seen as a positive step which would help to counteract the negative perceptions resulting from the FCA announcement.”

The results of the survey are set out in the cart below.


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