On Tuesday 29th July at the Financial Times, ResPublica launched its report, Virtuous Banking: Placing ethos and purpose at the heart of finance, with a keynote speech by Sir Ricahrd Lambert, Chair of the Banking Standards Review.
The banking industry is Britain’s great economic and social enabler. Given the capacity of our banks and building societies to promote growth and empower communities, our financial institutions have the potential to be society’s most transformative institutions. Yet this view is not the commonly-held view amongst the general public. The last financial crash highlighted an insidious culture in the industry that revered short-term profiteering over long-term prosperity. Because of this, and despite much reform, ordinary people remain unconvinced of the social worth of our banks.
Virtuous Banking: Placing ethos and purpose at the heart of finance argues that regulators and the industry must make it a first priority to restore the civic purpose of our banking institutions. In the report, we suggest that the key to this lies in promoting financial diversity amongst banking models and by fostering leadership in the industry through the introduction of new standard institutions.
This report states that the purpose of our banks is to serve their customers well, be they individual consumers or businesses, and to support the communities they live in. Only once this civic purpose has been restored can current attempts at banking reform be considered truly complete.