There is a lack of trust in the banking sector. To rebuild it, banks need to convince people that they can put customers back at the heart of their business model, providing fair services and acting as responsible custodians of clients’ money. Customers need to witness banks demonstrably exercising a duty of care to those that they serve.
It doesn’t stop with banks; for investors and banks to trust regulators, they need greater predictability and transparency when policy frameworks are changed. In turn, regulators need to be able to trust that banks will work within the spirit – not just the letter – of the law. For investors to trust banks, they need to feel sure they won’t suffer further costly surprises.
The greatest challenge will be transforming the relationship between society and banks. People need to feel confident that regulators are acting independently, transparently, and in their interests.
Banking Futures is an exploration of how to rebuild a heaathy banking sector in the UK. Sarasin’s Head of Stewardship Natasha Landell-Mills has participated in the BankingFutures project, which recently released the report “Banking on Trust: Engaging to rebuild a Healthy Bank Sector”. The project brought together senior executives from the largest UK banking industry and members of the investment community – with additional input from civil society and customer representative groups – to explore what a sustainable banking industry might look like. The report proposes targeted work that we believe could help to re-establish trust and a healthy banking industry focused on delivering value for customers, society and thus shareholders.