Need to rebuild trust in the Banking Sector, conference told

Posted on: 30 October 2018

Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe opened a conference on culture and diversity in the financial services sector in Ireland last week [October 25th]. Jointly hosted by the School of Law at Trinity College Dublin and the Central Bank, the conference examined the Central Bank’s ‘Review of Behaviour and Culture of the Irish Retail Banks’ and considered the lessons to be drawn from it for all firms in the financial services sector.

Emphasising the need to rebuild trust in the Banking sector, Minister Donohoe said:

“The need to rebuild trust in the Banking sector is a priority for this Government.  Last year I asked the Central Bank to prepare their report on the current cultures, behaviours and the associated risks in the retail banks and the actions that may be taken to ensure that banks prioritise customer interests in the future. Today we will hear more on the report’s recommendations and how they are being implemented. It is imperative that we see a real shift in people’s perception of banks and that customer care is central to financial services’ operations.”

 Central Bank’s Deputy Governor, Prudential Regulation, Ed Sibley said:

“The topic of the conference is crucially important to the Central Bank’s mandate to safeguard stability and protect consumers. Restoration of trust in the financial services system is necessary for the delivery of our vision for financial services as a whole – that it functions well, is well-managed and well-regulated and it serves the needs of the economy and its customers over the long term. If firms wish to restore or retain trust in their organisations, they must earn it, and effective culture must be part of this.”

 Trinity Professor in Corporate Law, Professor Blanaid Clarke concluded:

“In a year when issues of sexual misconduct and sexism have dominated public discourse, and the #MeToo movement has made headlines, boards should re-examine their oversight role in relation to this aspect of organisational culture. Concern for the personal toll on victims should be reason enough for boards to consider the welfare of their employees. However, from a business perspective too, the damage to employee morale and retention as well as the increased reputational and litigation risk for their companies may be significant.”

The conference was attended by representatives from the public and private sector, academia and the financial services sector.