Banking culture: is dull the new good?

25 October 2013

At the British Bankers’ Association’s annual meeting, Bill Michael, EMEA head of financial services at KPMG told the conference:

“Banking will become dull, and dull will be the new good.  Bankers will no longer be the rock stars of the commercial world and banking will become staid and adrenaline-free.

“As global banks reconfigure and become more country focused, stable returns will be demanded by investors.  Volatile earnings will signal that a bank hasn’t finished adapting.

“The ‘dullness’ of banks will drive culture and behaviour, not the other way round.”

Now, while no-one wants to see a return of the pre-crash culture of massive risk-taking, the danger is for banks to be seen as linear, staid organisations.  What Bill goes on to say is that banks need to develop ‘a new belief system’ around serving households and businesses in their home economies.

Dead right.  But for banks, this means that rather than retreating into their shells; they need to show their personality, to show their innovation, to show what they can do for individuals and businesses.  To deliver service in new ways and build trust, and ensure that the ‘belief system’ is believed by colleagues and customers alike.

Bill goes on to say, “The day has already arrived, when to introduce yourself as an accountant in a bar or at a dinner party, rather than as an investment banker, is seen as a good thing.”

Now, Bill, I think you may have started to believe your own hype…

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