Last week the jailed rogue trader, Kweki Adoboli, claimed that banks had not learned from the financial crisis because bosses stay out of jail while junior employees take the blame. This has led many to ask ‘what has changed’ in banking culture?
The FCA famously changed its mind on finding out when it canned its own report into banking culture. If we want a clue, however, we should note that in spring this year, the British public was informed that RBS had appointed London PR agency Blue Rubicon to lead a turnaround in its “reputation”.
The article stated “The Bank’s reputation took a nosedive during the 2007 – 2008 recession when it had to be bailed out with £45bn of taxpayer funds, and further scandals such as foreign exchange dealing have led to large fines.
RBS Group’s Chief Marketing Officer, David Wheldon, has now confirmed that it has appointed Blue Rubicon to help it become “the most trusted bank by 2020”.
RBS appear to think that if you repeat the word “trust “ enough times or engage a spin doctor that will do the trick.
Banks need to do more than utter platitudes. They need to demonstrate a real change of attitude and culture, that they are reformed characters, fit to be at large in their position of economic power and to have the trust of the British people.
They must start with a sea change in the way the deal with fraud and have senior bosses take responsibility. Until then Mr Adoboli won’t be the last to feel nothing has changed.